Genetic overlap between Alzheimer's disease and blood lipid levels

R.J. van der Linden, L.M. Reus, W. De Witte, B.M. Tijms, M.O. Rikkert, P.J. Visser, G. Poelmans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A B S T R A C T Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) has a significant genetic component, but the molecular mechanisms through which genetic risk factors contribute to AD pathogenesis are unclear. We screened for genetic sharing between AD and the blood levels of 615 metabolites to elucidate how the polygenic architecture of AD affects metabolomic profiles. We retrieved summary statistics from genome-wide association studies of AD and the metabolite blood levels and assessed for shared genetic etiology, using a polygenic risk score-based approach. For the blood levels of 31 metabolites, all of which were lipids, we identified and replicated genetic sharing with AD. We also found a positive genetic concordance implying that genetic risk factors for AD are associated with higher blood levels for 16 of the 31 replicated metabolites. In the brain, lipids and their intermediate metabolites have essential structural and functional roles, such as forming and dynamically regulating synaptic membranes. Our results imply that genetic risk factors for AD affect lipid levels, which may be leveraged to develop novel treatment strategies for AD. (c) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( )
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Human genetics
  • Polygenic Risk Scores (PRS)
  • Lipoproteins


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