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Neurobiol Aging. 2009 Mar;30(3):466-73. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

VDR gene variants associate with cognitive function and depressive symptoms in old age.

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Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Vitamin D has been recently implicated in brain function. Our objective was to test whether genetic variance in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene is associated with cognitive functioning and depressive symptoms in old age. The study was carried out in the prospective population-based Leiden 85-plus Study. All 563 participants of the study were genotyped for Cdx-2, FokI, BsmI, ApaI and TaqI polymorphisms in the VDR gene. Our data revealed an overall worse performance on tests measuring cognitive functioning for carriers of BsmI (p=0.013) and TaqI (p=0.004) polymorphisms, and of haplotype 2 (BAt) (p=0.004). In contrast, carriers of ApaI variant-allele and of haplotype 1 (baT) had better cognitive functioning together with less depressive symptoms. These associations could not be explained by differences in calcium levels, and by selective survival, since no associations between the VDR gene variants and calcium levels and mortality were observed. In conclusion, our results show that genetic variance in the VDR gene influences the susceptibility to age-related changes in cognitive functioning and in depressive symptoms.

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