Meta-analyses show that serum copper non-bound-to-ceruloplasmin (non-Cp-Cu) is higher in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). ATP7B gene variants associate with AD, modulating the size of non-Cp-Cu pool. However, a dedicated genetic study comparing AD patients after stratification for a copper biomarker to demonstrate the existence of a copper subtype of AD has not yet been carried out. An independent patient sample of 287 AD patients was assessed for non-Cp-Cu serum concentrations, rs1801243, rs1061472, and rs732774 ATP7B genetic variants and the APOE4 genotype. Patients were stratified into two groups based on a non-Cp-Cu cutoff (1.9 μM). Single-locus and haplotype-group analyses were performed to define their frequencies in dependence of the non-Cp-Cu group. The two AD subgroups did not differ regarding age, sex, MMSE score, or APOE4 frequency allele, while they did differ regarding non-Cp-Cu concentrations in serum, allele, genotype, and haplotype frequencies of rs1061472 A > G and rs732774 C > T after multiple testing corrections. AD patients with a GG genotype had a 1.76-fold higher risk of having a non-Cp-Cu higher than 1.9 μmol/L (p = 0.029), and those with a TT genotype for rs732774 C > T of 1.8-fold (p = 0.018). After 100,000 permutations for multiple testing corrections, the haplotype containing the AC alleles appeared more frequently in AD patients with normal non-Cp-Cu [43 vs. 33 %; Pm = 0.03], while the haplotype containing the GT risk alleles appeared more frequently in the higher non-Cp-Cu AD (66 vs. 55 %; Pm = 0.01). Genetic heterogeneity sustains a copper AD metabolic subtype; non-Cp-Cu is a marker of this copper AD.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Free copper
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience