Telomere length (TL) is associated with biological aging, consequently influencing the risk of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We aimed to evaluate the potential causal role of TL in AD endophenotypes (i.e., cognitive performance, N = 2233; brain age and AD-related signatures, N = 1134; and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers (CSF) of AD and neurodegeneration, N = 304) through a Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis. Our analysis was conducted in the context of the ALFA (ALzheimer and FAmilies) study, a population of cognitively healthy individuals at risk of AD. A total of 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with TL were used to determine the effect of TL on AD endophenotypes. Analyses were adjusted by age, sex, and years of education. Stratified analyses by APOE-ɛ4 status and polygenic risk score of AD were conducted. MR analysis revealed significant associations between genetically predicted longer TL and lower levels of CSF Aβ and higher levels of CSF NfL only in APOE-ɛ4 non-carriers. Moreover, inheriting longer TL was associated with greater cortical thickness in age and AD-related brain signatures and lower levels of CSF p-tau among individuals at a high genetic predisposition to AD. Further observational analyses are warranted to better understand these associations. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The project leading to these results has received funding from the Alzheimer’s Association (Grant AARG-19-618265). This project has received funding from Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI19/00119). Additional support has been received from “la Caixa” Foundation (ID 100010434), under agreement LCF/PR/GN17/50300004, the Alzheimer’s Association and an international anonymous charity foundation through the TriBEKa Imaging Platform project (TriBEKa-17-519007), the Health Department of the Catalan Government (Health Research and Innovation Strategic Plan (PERIS) 2016-2020 grant# SLT002/16/00201), and the Universities and Research Secretariat, Ministry of Business and Knowledge of the Catalan Government under the grant no. 2017-SGR-892. All CRG authors acknowledge the support of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities to the EMBL partnership, the Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa, and the CERCA Programme/Generalitat de Catalunya. NV-T is funded by a post-doctoral grant, Juan de la Cierva Incorporación Programme (IJC2020-043216-I), Ministry of Science and Innovation–Spanish State Research Agency. EMAU is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities - Spanish State Research Agency (RYC2018-026053-I). MS-C receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement no. 948677). MS-C also receives funding from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI19/00155) and from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Juan de la Cierva Programme grant IJC2018-037478-I). HZ is a Wallenberg Scholar supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council (#2018-02532); the European Research Council (#681712); Swedish State Support for Clinical Research (#ALFGBG-720931); the Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), USA (#201809-2016862); the AD Strategic Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association (#ADSF-21-831376-C, #ADSF-21-831381-C, and #ADSF-21-831377-C); the Olav Thon Foundation; the Erling-Persson Family Foundation, Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor, Hjärnfonden, Sweden (#FO2019-0228); the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860197 (MIRIADE); and the UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL. KB is supported by the Swedish Research Council (#2017-00915); the Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), USA (#RDAPB-201809-2016615); the Swedish Alzheimer Foundation (#AF-742881); Hjärnfonden, Sweden (#FO2017-0243); the Swedish state under the agreement between the Swedish government and the County Councils, the ALF-agreement (#ALFGBG-715986); the European Union Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Disorders (JPND2019-466-236); and the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA, (grant #1R01AG068398-01). JDG is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (RYC-2013-13054). AS-V. is the recipient of an Instituto de Salud Carlos III Miguel Servet II fellowship (CP II 17/00029).
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