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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 21;7(1):8899. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09320-z.

Susceptible genes and disease mechanisms identified in frontotemporal dementia and frontotemporal dementia with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis by DNA-methylation and GWAS.

Collaborators (153)

Hernandez DG, Nalls MA, Rohrer JD, Ramasamy A, Kwok JBJ, Dobson-Stone C, Schofield PR, Halliday GM, Hodges JR, Piguet O, Bartley L, Thompson E, Haan E, Hernández I, Ruiz A, Boada M, Borroni B, Padovani A, Cruchaga C, Cairns NJ, Benussi L, Binetti G, Ghidoni R, Forloni G, Albani D, Galimberti D, Fenoglio C, Serpente M, Scarpini E, Clarimón J, Lleó A, Blesa R, Waldö ML, Nilsson K, Nilsson C, Mackenzie IRA, Hsiung GR, Mann DMA, Grafman J, Morris CM, Attems J, Griffiths TD, McKeith IG, Thomas AJ, Pietrini P, Huey ED, Wassermann EM, Baborie A, Jaros E, Tierney MC, Pastor P, Razquin C, Ortega-Cubero S, Alonso E, Perneczky R, Diehl-Schmid J, Alexopoulos P, Kurz A, Rainero I, Rubino E, Pinessi L, Rogaeva E, George-Hyslop PS, Rossi G, Tagliavini F, Giaccone G, Rowe JB, Schlachetzki JCM, Uphill J, Collinge J, Mead S, Danek A, Van Deerlin VM, Grossman M, Trojanowski JQ, van der Zee J, Van Broeckhoven C, Cappa SF, Leber I, Hannequin D, Golfier V, Vercelletto M, Brice A, Nacmias B, Sorbi S, Bagnoli S, Piaceri I, Nielsen JE, Hjermind LE, Riemenschneider M, Mayhaus M, Ibach B, Gasparoni G, Pichler S, Gu W, Rossor MN, Fox NC, Warren JD, Spillantini MG, Morris HR, Rizzu P, Heutink P, Snowden JS, Rollinson S, Richardson A, Gerhard A, Bruni AC, Maletta R, Frangipane F, Cupidi C, Bernardi L, Anfossi M, Gallo M, Conidi ME, Smirne N, Rademakers R, Baker M, Dickson DW, Graff-Radford NR, Petersen RC, Knopman D, Josephs KA, Boeve BF, Parisi JE, Seeley WW, Miller BL, Karydas AM, Rosen H, van Swieten JC, Dopper EGP, Seelaar H, Scheltens P, Logroscino G, Capozzo R, Novelli V, Puca AA, Franceschi M, Postiglione A, Milan G, Sorrentino P, Kristiansen M, Chiang HH, Graff C, Pasquier F, Rollin A, Deramecourt V, Lebouvier T, Kapogiannis D, Ferrucci L, Pickering-Brown S, Singleton AB, Hardy J, Momeni P.

Author information

VU University Amsterdam, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Complex Trait Genetics (CTG), Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
VU University Medical Center (VUMC), Alzheimer Center, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
UCL London, Institute of Neurology, Department of Molecular Neuroscience, London, UK.
Department of Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
VU University Amsterdam, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (MCN), Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
VU University Medical Center (VUMC), Alzheimer Center, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative disorder predominantly affecting the frontal and temporal lobes. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on FTD identified only a few risk loci. One of the possible explanations is that FTD is clinically, pathologically, and genetically heterogeneous. An important open question is to what extent epigenetic factors contribute to FTD and whether these factors vary between FTD clinical subgroup. We compared the DNA-methylation levels of FTD cases (n = 128), and of FTD cases with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (FTD-ALS; n = 7) to those of unaffected controls (n = 193), which resulted in 14 and 224 candidate genes, respectively. Cluster analysis revealed significant class separation of FTD-ALS from controls. We could further specify genes with increased susceptibility for abnormal gene-transcript behavior by jointly analyzing DNA-methylation levels with the presence of mutations in a GWAS FTD-cohort. For FTD-ALS, this resulted in 9 potential candidate genes, whereas for FTD we detected 1 candidate gene (ELP2). Independent validation-sets confirmed the genes DLG1, METTL7A, KIAA1147, IGHMBP2, PCNX, UBTD2, WDR35, and ELP2/SLC39A6 among others. We could furthermore demonstrate that genes harboring mutations and/or displaying differential DNA-methylation, are involved in common pathways, and may therefore be critical for neurodegeneration in both FTD and FTD-ALS.

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