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Upstream Transcription Factor 1 (USF1) Polymorphisms Associate with Alzheimer's Disease-related Neuropathological Lesions: Tampere Autopsy Study


Karita Isotalo, Medical Student, Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere 33014, Finland (Email:


The apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene associates with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cholesterol levels. Upstream transcription factor 1 (USF1) regulates lipid metabolism genes, including APOE, and the AD Aβ-precursor protein. We investigated associations between 6 haplotype-tagging USF1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (and haplotypes) and AD-related neuropathological lesions [senile plaques (SP), neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) ] in an autopsy series comprising 603 cases (ages 0–97, mean 62 years, 215 women) that died out-of-hospital. In age- and APOE-adjusted analyses, the minor G-allele of rs2774276, previously linked to elevated cholesterol, associated with late-stage burnt out SP among women and early non-neuritic SP among men. The G-allele of the previously unreported rs10908821 showed significant risk of having SP, especially neuritic and burnt out SP, among women but not men. USF1 haplotype GCGCAC carriers (risk alleles of rs2774276 and rs10908821) associated with SP risk, especially neuritic and late-stage burnt out SP, among women but not men. Younger CCGCAC carriers (risk allele of rs2774276 and protective of rs10908821) were more likely to have non-neuritic and diffuse SP. Conversely, USF1 CCGCAC haplotype carriers had lower NFT prevalence among 65+ year-olds. These results suggest USF1 has an independent but gender- and age-associated effect on AD-related brain lesion development.