CLU genetic variants and cognitive decline among elderly and oldest old

Jonas Mengel-From, Mikael Thinggaard, Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen, Matt McGue, Kaare Christensen, Lene Christiansen

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26 Scopus citations


The CLU gene is one of the prime genetic candidates associated with Alzheimers disease. In the present study CLU genotypes and haplotypes were associated with baseline cognition and the rate of cognitive decline in two cohorts, the Danish 1905 birth cohort (93 years of age in 1998) and the Longitudinal Study of Aging Danish twins (LSADT) (73-83 year old twins in 1997). Both Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and a cognitive composite score was attained up to six times for up to 10 years and analysed using random effects models and vital status. The rs11136000 T allele was associated with better baseline cognitive performance both in the LSADT (effect on intercept: 0.41 95% CI [20.04; 0.87]) and the 1905 birth cohort (effect on intercept: 0.28 95% CI [0.01; 0.55]), although it did not reach significance in the LSADT cohort. However, the rs11136000 T allele was significantly associated with a steeper decline (effect on slope: 20.06 95% CI [20.11; 20.01]) in the LSADT cohort, but not in the 1905 birth cohort. Haplotype analyses revealed that carriers of the common rs11136000, rs1532278 and rs9331888 TTC haplotype (36%) in the CLU gene performed cognitively better than non-carriers in the 1905 birth cohort (effect on intercept: 0.50 95% CI [0.12; 0.91]) and carriers of a rare TCC haplotype (1%) performed worse on the cognitive composite score (effect on intercept: 21.51 95% CI [22.92; 20.06]). The association between the TTC haplotype and better cognitive composite score was higher among those surviving past the age of 98 (p = 0.014), and among these the TTC haplotype was borderline associated with a steep decline (effect on slope: 20.13 95% CI [2 0.27; 0.00]). In summery CLU genetic variants associate with cognition in two cohorts, but the genetic effect of CLU seems to regress toward the mean when aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere79105
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 14 2013


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