KLOTHO heterozygosity attenuates APOE4 -related amyloid burden in preclinical AD

Claire M Erickson, Stephanie A Schultz, Jennifer M Oh, Burcu F Darst, Yue Ma, Derek Norton, Tobey Betthauser, Catherine L Gallagher, Cynthia M Carlsson, Barbara B Bendlin, Sanjay Asthana, Bruce P Hermann, Mark A Sager, Kaj Blennow, Henrik Zetterberg, Corinne D Engelman, Bradley T Christian, Sterling C Johnson, Dena B Dubal, Ozioma C Okonkwo
Neurology 2019 April 16, 92 (16): e1878-e1889

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the KLOTHO gene variant KL-VS attenuates APOE4- associated β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation in a late-middle-aged cohort enriched with Alzheimer disease (AD) risk factors.

METHODS: Three hundred nine late-middle-aged adults from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention and the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center were genotyped to determine KL-VS and APOE4 status and underwent CSF sampling (n = 238) and/or 11 C-Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-PET imaging (n = 183). Covariate-adjusted regression analyses were used to investigate whether APOE4 exerted expected effects on Aβ burden. Follow-up regression analyses stratified by KL-VS genotype (i.e., noncarrier vs heterozygous; there were no homozygous individuals) evaluated whether the influence of APOE4 on Aβ was different among KL-VS heterozygotes compared to noncarriers.

RESULTS: APOE4 carriers exhibited greater Aβ burden than APOE4 -negative participants. This effect was stronger in CSF ( t = -5.12, p < 0.001) compared with PiB-PET ( t = 3.93, p < 0.001). In the stratified analyses, this APOE4 effect on Aβ load was recapitulated among KL-VS noncarriers (CSF: t = -5.09, p < 0.001; PiB-PET: t = 3.77, p < 0 .001). In contrast, among KL-VS heterozygotes, APOE4 -positive individuals did not exhibit higher Aβ burden than APOE4 -negative individuals (CSF: t = -1.03, p = 0.308; PiB-PET: t = 0.92, p = 0.363). These differential APOE4 effects remained after KL-VS heterozygotes and noncarriers were matched on age and sex.

CONCLUSION: In a cohort of at-risk late-middle-aged adults, KL-VS heterozygosity was associated with an abatement of APOE4- associated Aβ aggregation, suggesting KL-VS heterozygosity confers protections against APOE4- linked pathways to disease onset in AD.

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