C9orf72 intermediate expansions of 24-30 repeats are associated with ALS

Alfredo Iacoangeli, Ahmad Al Khleifat, Ashley R. Jones, William Sproviero, Aleksey Shatunov, Sarah Opie-Martin, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Karen E. Morrison, Pamela J. Shaw, Christopher E. Shaw, Isabella Fogh, Richard J. Dobson, Stephen J. Newhouse, Ammar Al-Chalabi

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Abstract

The expansion of a hexanucleotide repeat GGGGCC in C9orf72 is the most common known cause of ALS accounting for ~ 40% familial cases and ~ 7% sporadic cases in the European population. In most people, the repeat length is 2, but in people with ALS, hundreds to thousands of repeats may be observed. A small proportion of people have an intermediate expansion, of the order of 20 to 30 repeats in size, and it remains unknown whether intermediate expansions confer risk of ALS in the same way that massive expansions do. We investigated the association of this intermediate repeat with ALS by performing a meta-analysis of four previously published studies and a new British/Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative dataset of 1295 cases and 613 controls. The final dataset comprised 5071 cases and 3747 controls. Our meta-analysis showed association between ALS and intermediate C9orf72 repeats of 24 to 30 repeats in size (random-effects model OR = 4.2, 95% CI = 1.23-14.35, p-value = 0.02). Furthermore, we showed a different frequency of the repeat between the northern and southern European populations (Fisher's exact test p-value = 5 × 10- 3). Our findings provide evidence for the association between intermediate repeats and ALS (p-value = 2 × 10- 4) with direct relevance for research and clinical practice by showing that an expansion of 24 or more repeats should be considered pathogenic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa neuropathologica communications
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2019

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    Iacoangeli, A., Al Khleifat, A., Jones, A. R., Sproviero, W., Shatunov, A., Opie-Martin, S., Initiative, A. D. N., Morrison, K. E., Shaw, P. J., Shaw, C. E., Fogh, I., Dobson, R. J., Newhouse, S. J., & Al-Chalabi, A. (2019). C9orf72 intermediate expansions of 24-30 repeats are associated with ALS. Acta neuropathologica communications, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0724-4