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Genetic Evidence for Protective Effects of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Against Alzheimer Disease But Not Other Neurodegenerative Diseases in European Populations.

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Ryan, David K 
Karhunen, Ville 
Su, Bowen 
Traylor, Matthew 


Background and Objectives: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are a commonly prescribed class of medication used to treat heart failure, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease. However, previous observational studies have shown conflicting directions of associations between ACE inhibitors and risk of Alzheimer disease. Genetic evidence has supported a protective effect of cerebral ACE against Alzheimer disease (AD). However, it is unclear whether this effect is mediated through blood pressure and extends to other neurodegenerative diseases. Methods: We performed genetic colocalization investigating an effect of cortical ACE expression on AD risk in people of European ancestry. We further investigated whether any effect of ACE expression on AD risk is mediated through changes in blood pressure and whether effects extend to Parkinson disease, small-vessel disease, or cognitive function in a Mendelian randomization paradigm. Results: There was genetic evidence supporting a protective effect of cortical ACE expression on AD risk in people of European ancestry. Although higher cortical ACE expression was associated with higher blood pressure, there was no strong evidence to support that its association with AD was mediated through blood pressure nor that ACE expression affected risk of other neurodegenerative traits. Discussion: Genetic evidence supports protective effects of cerebral ACE expression on AD, but not other neurodegenerative outcomes in people of European ancestry. Further work is required to investigate whether therapeutic inhibition of ACE increases risk of Alzheimer disease.



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Neurol Genet

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Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/7)