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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Apr;22(4):281-9. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2011.08.006. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

The CC genotype of transforming growth factor-β1 increases the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease and is associated with AD-related depression.

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Department of Drug Sciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.


Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is a neurotrophic factor that exerts neuroprotective effects against β-amyloid-induced neurodegeneration. Recently, a specific impairment of the TGF-β1 signaling pathway has been demonstrated in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. TGF-β1 is also involved in the pathogenesis of depressive disorders, which may occur in 30-40% of AD patients. The TGF-β1 gene contains single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at codon +10 (T/C) and +25 (G/C), which are known to influence the level of expression of TGF-β1. We investigated TGF-β1 +10 (T/C) and +25 (G/C) SNPs and allele frequencies in 131 sporadic AD patients and in 135 healthy age- and sex-matched controls. Genotypes of the TGF-β1 SNPs at codon +10 (T/C) and +25 (G/C) did not differ between AD patients and controls, whereas the allele frequencies of codon +10 polymorphism showed a significant difference (P = 0.0306). We also found a different distribution of the +10 (C/C) phenotype (continuity-corrected χ(2) test with one degree of freedom = 4.460, P = 0.0347) between late onset AD (LOAD) patients and controls (P = 0.0126), but not between early onset AD (EOAD) patients and controls. In addition, the presence of the C/C genotype increased the risk of LOAD regardless of the status of apolipoprotein E4 (odds ratio [OR] = 2.34; 95% CI = 1.19-4.59). Compared to patients bearing the T/T and C/T polymorphisms, LOAD TGF-β1 C/C carriers also showed > 5-fold risk to develop depressive symptoms independently of a history of depression (OR = 5.50; 95% CI = 1.33-22.69). An association was also found between the TGF-β1 C/C genotype and the severity of depressive symptoms (HAM-D(17) ≥ 14) (P < 0.05). These results suggest that the CC genotype of the TGF-β1 gene increases the risk to develop LOAD and is also associated with depressive symptoms in AD.

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