In a genome-wide association study of structural brain degeneration, we mapped the 3D profile of temporal lobe volume differences in 742 brain MRI scans of Alzheimer's disease patients, mildly impaired, and healthy elderly subjects. After searching 546,314 genomic markers, 2 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were associated with bilateral temporal lobe volume (P<5×10<7). One SNP, rs10845840, is located in the GRIN2B gene which encodes the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor NR2B subunit. This protein - involved in learning and memory, and excitotoxic cell death - has age-dependent prevalence in the synapse and is already a therapeutic target in Alzheimer's disease. Risk alleles for lower temporal lobe volume at this SNP were significantly over-represented in AD and MCI subjects vs. controls (odds ratio=1.273; P=0.039) and were associated with mini-mental state exam scores (MMSE; t=-2.114; P=0.035) demonstrating a negative effect on global cognitive function. Voxelwise maps of genetic association of this SNP with regional brain volumes, revealed intense temporal lobe effects (FDR correction at q=0.05; critical P=0.0257). This study uses large-scale brain mapping for gene discovery with implications for Alzheimer's disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Data used in preparing this article were obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database ( www.loni.ucla.edu/ADNI ). Consequently, many ADNI investigators contributed to the design and implementation of ADNI or provided data but did not participate in the analysis or writing of this report. A complete listing of ADNI investigators is available at www.loni.ucla.edu/ADNI/Collaboration/ADNI_Citation.shtml . This work was primarily funded by the ADNI (Principal Investigator: Michael Weiner; NIH grant number U01 AG024904 ). ADNI is funded by the National Institute of Aging, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, through generous contributions from the following companies and organizations: Pfizer Inc., Wyeth Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co. Inc., AstraZeneca AB, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the Alzheimer's Association, Eisai Global Clinical Development, Elan Corporation plc, Forest Laboratories, and the Institute for the Study of Aging (ISOA), with participation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The grantee organization is the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the study is coordinated by the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study at the University of California, San Diego. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, grant U54 RR021813 entitled Center for Computational Biology (CCB). Information on the National Centers for Biomedical Computing can be obtained from ( http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/bioinformatics ). Additional support was provided by grants P41 RR013642 and M01 RR000865 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) , a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Algorithm development for this study was also funded by the NIBIB ( R01 EB007813 , R01 EB008281 and R01 EB008432 ), NICHHD ( R01 HD050735 ), and NIA ( R01 AG020098 ). JS was also funded by NIH/NIDA 1-T90-DA022768:02 , the ARCS foundation , and the NIMH ( 1F31MH087061 ).