News

Three new genes identified for subjective well-being

This study was coordinated by the Social Science Genetics Association Consortium (SSGAC) of which our group is a member via contributing data from the Berlin Aging Study II. In total, our study investigated the data of nearly 300,000 individuals searching for genetic determinants of subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism. Using a genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach, we identified 16 signals associated with one of more of the investigated phenotypes. Pinpointed loci tended to be involved in regulating gene expression in the central nervous system and adrenal or pancreas tissues. The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

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Novel guidelines for preclinical Alzheimer’s disease

Our group has participated in a recent effort to formulate novel recommendations about the definitions, the limits, the natural history, the markers of progression, and the ethical consequence of detecting Alzheimer’s disease at its preclinical, asymptomatic stage. This work is the result of a workshop held by the International Working Group (IWG) and the American Alzheimer’s Association on “The Preclinical State of AD” on July 23, 2015; Washington DC, USA. The guidelines were recently published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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GWAS in >100,000 people identifies four novel loci for body fat

For this study we participated in a consortium GWAS (genome-wide association study) meta-analysis on >100,000 individuals searching for novel loci underlying body fat and adiposity. The LIGA team contributed genome-wide data from the Berlin Aging Study II. Overall, a total of 12 genome-wide significant loci were identified of which four were novel. Additional analyses revealed associations of the body fat loci to a range of cardiometabolic traits providing new insights into the connection between adiposity and cardiovascular risk. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

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New insights into the role of APOE in multiple sclerosis

Apolipoprotein E (APOE) represents the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but its role in other neuropsychiatric diseases is less well established. In this study, performed in collaboration with researchers from Ruhr University Bochum, we investigated the role of APOE in a transgenic mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). While our group had shown earlier that genetic variants in APOE do not significantly alter the risk for MS, they do appear to exert a modest effect in mice suffering from an experimental form of MS, highlighting – again – the challenges of translating results from animal models to the human condition. The study was published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

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