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Association of genetically predicted 486 blood metabolites on the risk of Alzheimer's disease: a Mendelian randomization study.

BACKGROUND: Studies have reported that metabolic disturbance exhibits in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Still, the presence of definitive evidence concerning the genetic effect of metabolites on AD risk remains insufficient. A systematic exploration of the genetic association between blood metabolites and AD would contribute to the identification of new targets for AD screening and prevention.

METHODS: We conducted an exploratory two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) study aiming to preliminarily identify the potential metabolites involved in AD development. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) involving 7,824 participants provided information on 486 human blood metabolites. Outcome information was obtained from a large-scale GWAS meta-analysis of AD, encompassing 21,982 cases and 41,944 controls of Europeans. The primary two-sample MR analysis utilized the inverse variance weighted (IVW) model while supplementary analyses used Weighted median (WM), MR Egger, Simple mode, and Weighted mode, followed by sensitivity analyses such as the heterogeneity test, horizontal pleiotropy test, and leave-one-out analysis. For the further identification of metabolites, replication and meta-analysis with FinnGen data, steiger test, linkage disequilibrium score regression, confounding analysis, and were conducted for further evaluation. Multivariable MR was performed to assess the direct effect of metabolites on AD. Besides, an extra replication analysis with EADB data was conducted for final evaluation of the most promising findings.

RESULTS: After rigorous genetic variant selection, IVW, complementary analysis, sensitivity analysis, replication and meta-analysis with the FinnGen data, five metabolites (epiandrosterone sulfate, X-12680, pyruvate, docosapentaenoate, and 1-stearoylglycerophosphocholine) were identified as being genetically associated with AD. MVMR analysis disclosed that genetically predicted these four known metabolites can directly influence AD independently of other metabolites. Only epiandrosterone sulfate and X-12680 remained suggestive significant associations with AD after replication analysis with the EADB data.

CONCLUSION: By integrating genomics with metabonomics, this study furnishes evidence substantiating the genetic association of epiandrosterone sulfate and X-12680 with AD. These findings hold significance for the screening, prevention, and treatment strategies for AD.

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