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Polygenic resilience scores capture protective genetic effects for Alzheimer’s disease

Hou, Jiahui, Hess, Jonathan L., Armstrong, Nicola, Bis, Joshua C., Grenier-Boley, Benjamin, Karlsson, Ida K., Leonenko, Ganna ORCID:, Numbers, Katya, O’Brien, Eleanor K., Shadrin, Alexey, Thalamuthu, Anbupalam, Yang, Qiong, Andreassen, Ole A., Brodaty, Henry, Gatz, Margaret, Kochan, Nicole A., Lambert, Jean-Charles, Laws, Simon M., Masters, Colin L., Mather, Karen A., Pedersen, Nancy L., Posthuma, Danielle, Sachdev, Perminder S., Williams, Julie ORCID:, Fan, Chun Chieh, Faraone, Stephen V., Fennema-Notestine, Christine, Lin, Shu-Ju, Escott-Price, Valentina ORCID:, Holmans, Peter ORCID:, Seshadri, Sudha, Tsuang, Ming T., Kremen, William S. and Glatt, Stephen J. 2022. Polygenic resilience scores capture protective genetic effects for Alzheimer’s disease. Translational Psychiatry 12 (1) , 296. 10.1038/s41398-022-02055-0

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Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) can boost risk prediction in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) beyond apolipoprotein E (APOE) but have not been leveraged to identify genetic resilience factors. Here, we sought to identify resilience-conferring common genetic variants in (1) unaffected individuals having high PRSs for LOAD, and (2) unaffected APOE-ε4 carriers also having high PRSs for LOAD. We used genome-wide association study (GWAS) to contrast “resilient” unaffected individuals at the highest genetic risk for LOAD with LOAD cases at comparable risk. From GWAS results, we constructed polygenic resilience scores to aggregate the addictive contributions of risk-orthogonal common variants that promote resilience to LOAD. Replication of resilience scores was undertaken in eight independent studies. We successfully replicated two polygenic resilience scores that reduce genetic risk penetrance for LOAD. We also showed that polygenic resilience scores positively correlate with polygenic risk scores in unaffected individuals, perhaps aiding in staving off disease. Our findings align with the hypothesis that a combination of risk-independent common variants mediates resilience to LOAD by moderating genetic disease risk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Springer Nature [academic journals on]
ISSN: 2158-3188
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 1 July 2022
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 23:02

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