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Genetic Ancestry and Susceptibility to Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease (LOAD) in the Admixed Colombian Population

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Differences in the prevalence of dementia among populations and in the effect of apolipoprotein E (APOE) on the emergence of Alzheimer disease (AD), which is the main type of dementia, have been reported.


This study estimated the ancestry of a group of individuals with late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) (N=280) and established whether there were any differences when compared with a control group (N=357) in a sample of the Colombian population.


When the analyses were adjusted for known risk factors such as age, sex, presence of APOEɛ4, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and place of birth, African ancestry was associated with an increased LOAD risk (odds ratio: 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-2.03; P=0.029), whereas Native American ancestry was associated with lower risk (odds ratio: 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-0.98; P=0.046), for every 10% increase in ancestry. In addition, there were significant differences in the proportion of Native American ancestry between carriers and noncarriers of the APOEɛ4 allele (Mann-Whitney U test, P=0.047), with noncarriers having higher mean Native American ancestry when compared with carriers.


Our results are consistent with the presence of variants of African origin in the genome of the Colombian population and different from APOEɛ4 that represents a risk factor for the development of LOAD, whereas variants of Native American origin may be conferring protection. However, unknown environmental factors or epigenetic differences among continental groups could also explain the observed associations.
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Keywords: APOEε4; admixture; dementia; genetic ancestry; susceptibility to late-onset Alzheimer disease

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Molecular Genetics Group 2: Neuropsychology Group, Surcolombiana University 3: Neuroscience Group, University of Antioquia, Medellín 4: Genomic Medicine Group, Surcolombiana University, Neiva, Colombia 5: Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology and Institute of Neuroscience, Barcelona University, Research Institute Sant Joan de Déu (IR-SJD), Barcelona, Spain

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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