Association between 9p21-23 Locus and Frailty in a Community-Dwelling Greek Population: Results from the Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Ageing and Diet.J Prev Alzheimers Dis. 2022; 9(1):77-85.JP
Frailty is a complex geriatric syndrome arising from a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is associated with adverse health outcomes and mortality. A recent study reported an association between variants of the 9p21-23 locus, associated with a number of age-related disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), and frailty. Frailty has been associated with increased risk of developing AD and it has been proposed that frailty burden may modify AD clinical presentation. In view of the overlapping genetic architecture between the two disorders, it is noteworthy to conduct studies to uncover risk variants that contribute to both AD and frailty. The purpose of this study is to test the reproducibility of the association of 9p21-23 locus with frailty in a population that is ethnically different from previous work and in the context of multidimensional definitions of frailty that will allow us to examine the potential impact to domains pertaining to AD pathology.
We operationalized frailty according two definitions and the corresponding instruments, the Frailty Index (FI) and the Tilburg Frailty Indicator (TFI) and we determined genotypes of eight alleles previously identified as risk increasing for frailty in 1172 community-dwelling older participants (57% females) from the HELIAD study with a mean age of 74 years old. We cross-sectionally investigated the association between risk alleles and frailty, as well as with specific components of each definition using linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex and years of education.
Compared to non-carriers, carriers of rs7038172 C risk allele, were associated with a higher FI Score (β=0.089, p=0.002). Similarly, we found a positive association between the presence of at least one rs7038172 C variant and TFI score (β=0.053, p=0.04). Moreover, the rs7038172 variant was associated, irrespectively of dementia status, with the memory and psychological domain of FI and TFI, respectively.
Our study confirms the association of the rs7038172 C allele with the frailty syndrome in a Greek population and in the context of multidimensional definitions of frailty. Furthermore, we report novel associations between this allele and the memory domain of FI and the psychological domain of TFI, that includes memory problems on its components. Given that frailty burden has been shown to modify the AD clinical presentation, it is likely that rs7038172 C allele may accelerate the transition of AD or frailty to dementia Overall, our study corroborates the role of the 9p21-23 region in frailty development and draw potential links with AD pathology.