C9orf72 and UNC13A Are Shared Risk Loci for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Dementia: A Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis

FP Diekstra, VM Van Deerlin, J.C. van Swieten, A Al-Chalabi, AC Ludolph, JH Weishaupt, O Hardiman, JE Landers, RH Brown, MA van Es, RJ Pasterkamp, M Koppers, PM Andersen, Karol Estrada Gil, Fernando Rivadeneira, Bert Hofman, André Uitterlinden, P van Damme, J Melki, V MeiningerA Shatunov, CE Shaw, PN Leigh, PJ Shaw, KE Morrison, I Fogh, A Chio, BJ Traynor, D Czell, M Weber, P Heutink, PIW de Bakker, V Silani, W Robberecht, LH van den Berg, JH Veldink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Substantial clinical, pathological, and genetic overlap exists between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). TDP-43 inclusions have been found in both ALS and FTD cases (FTD-TDP). Recently, a repeat expansion in C9orf72 was identified as the causal variant in a proportion of ALS and FTD cases. We sought to identify additional evidence for a common genetic basis for the spectrum of ALS-FTD. Methods: We used published genome-wide association studies data for 4,377 ALS patients and 13,017 controls, and 435 pathology-proven FTD-TDP cases and 1,414 controls for genotype imputation. Data were analyzed in a joint meta-analysis, by replicating topmost associated hits of one disease in the other, and by using a conservative rank products analysis, allocating equal weight to ALS and FTD-TDP sample sizes. Results: Meta-analysis identified 19 genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in C9orf72 on chromosome 9p21.2 (lowest p = 2.6 x 10(-12)) and 1 SNP in UNC13A on chromosome 19p13.11 (p = 1.0 x 10(-11)) as shared susceptibility loci for ALS and FTD-TDP. Conditioning on the 9p21.2 genotype increased statistical significance at UNC13A. A third signal, on chromosome 8q24.13 at the SPG8 locus coding for strumpellin (p = 3.91 x 10(-7)) was replicated in an independent cohort of 4,056 ALS patients and 3,958 controls (p = 0.026; combined analysis p = 1.01 x 10(-7)). Interpretation: We identified common genetic variants in C9orf72, but in addition in UNC13A that are shared between ALS and FTD. UNC13A provides a novel link between ALS and FTD-TDP, and identifies changes in neurotransmitter release and synaptic function as a converging mechanism in the pathogenesis of ALS and FTD-TDP.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this