We have observed an unusually high prevalence of dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) in Wadi Ara, an inbred Arab community in northern Israel comprising ∼850 persons over the age of 60 years. Family studies revealed that more than one-third of the DAT cases are members of one hamula (tribal group) within Wadi Ara. To map chromosomal loci contributing to DAT susceptibility, we conducted a 10 cM scan in a series of five cases and five controls selected from this hamula. Markers from 18 chromosomal regions showed significant allelic association with DAT (P < 0.05). Locations on chromosomes 2, 9 and 10 remained significant after testing additional affected and non-demented individuals. Significant associations were also observed for markers on chromosome 12 which overlap with a locus implicated in previous genome scans. Analysis of allele frequency distributions for 12 markers spanning 20 cM on chromosome 9 narrowed the possible location of an DAT susceptibility gene to a 13 cM interval between D9S157 and D9S259 (most significant result: P = 2.3 × 10-7). Analysis of 14 markers spanning 24 cM on chromosome 12 narrowed the possible location to a 14 cM interval distal to the LRP1 locus (most significant result: P = 1.3 × 10-6). Evidence for linkage on chromosome 9 stemmed primarily from excess homozygosity of marker alleles in cases compared with controls, suggesting that the gene at this location behaves in either a recessive or additive fashion. The unique characteristics of this community together with the emergent human genome data should allow for the rapid identification of DAT genes in these candidate regions.
|Institute on the Study of Aging
|National Institutes of Health
|National Institute on Aging