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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Butyrylcholinesterase K variant is genetically associated with late onset Alzheimer's disease in Northern Ireland.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been associated, sometimes controversially, with polymorphisms in a number of genes. Recently the butyrylcholinesterase K variant (BCHE K) allele has been shown to act in synergy with the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOE epsilon4) allele to promote risk for AD. Most subsequent replicative studies have been unable to confirm these findings. We have conducted a case-control association study using a clinically well defined group of late onset AD patients (n=175) and age and sex matched control subjects (n=187) from the relatively genetically homogeneous Northern Ireland population to test this association. The BCHE genotypes of patients were found to be significantly different from controls (chi(2)=23.68, df=2, p<<0.001). The frequency of the K variant allele was also found to differ significantly in cases compared to controls (chi(2)=16.39, df=1, p<<0.001) leading to an increased risk of AD in subjects with this allele (OR=3.50, 95% CI 2. 20-6.07). This risk increased in subjects 75 years and older (OR=5. 50, 95% CI 2.56-11.87). At the same time the APOE epsilon4 associated risk was found to decrease from 6.70 (95% CI 2.40-19.04) in 65-74 year olds to 3.05 (95% CI 1.34-6.95) in those subjects 75 years and older. However, we detected no evidence of synergy between BCHE K and APOE epsilon4. The results from this study suggest that possession of the BCHE K allele constitutes a significant risk for AD in the Northern Ireland population and, furthermore, this risk increases with increasing age.[1]


  1. Butyrylcholinesterase K variant is genetically associated with late onset Alzheimer's disease in Northern Ireland. McIlroy, S.P., Crawford, V.L., Dynan, K.B., McGleenon, B.M., Vahidassr, M.D., Lawson, J.T., Passmore, A.P. J. Med. Genet. (2000) [Pubmed]
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