Genome-wide significant results identified in blood protein levels

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4 April 2016
Image - Genome-Wide Significant Results Identified in Blood Protein Levels


Researchers from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at UNSW Australia have undertaken the largest study of its kind to better understand the contribution of genetics to blood apolipoprotein H levels. 

The study, published today in Nature Scientific Reports, identified genetic variants that influence blood circulating apolipoprotein H levels.  Apolipoprotein H has been linked to cognitive ageing, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, such as antiphospholipid syndrome and lupus.

Lead author and leader of CHeBA’s Genetics & Genomics Group, Dr Karen Mather, said “To identify genes that influence the blood levels of apolipoprotein H we looked at data from over 2 million individual genetic variants from more than 900 older adults, using participants from CHeBA’s Sydney Memory and Ageing Study and the Older Australians Twins Study.” 

Co-author on the paper and Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, Professor Perminder Sachdev, said “We identified specific genetic variants located in or near the APOH gene that influence ApoH levels and replicated the results in an independent cohort of middle-aged to older adults, the Hunter Community Study, which is an important validation step in genetic studies.”

Dr Mather said she was extremely encouraged by the results of this study, which was carried out in collaboration with researchers at the University of Newcastle.

“ApoH has important physiological roles and is involved in negative health consequences,” she said.  “This study increases our knowledge regarding the determinants of ApoH levels and may lead to strategies that aim to reduce risk and prevent disease as well as to the development of novel treatments,” she said.
Nature Scientific Reports