Are hereditary hemochromatosis mutations involved in Alzheimer disease?

Sharon Moalem, Maire E. Percy, David F. Andrews, Theo P.A. Kruck, Simon Wong, Arthur J. Dalton, Pankaj Mehta, Bettye Fedor, Andrew C. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Mutations in the class I-like major histocompatibility complex gene called HFE are associated with hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC), a disorder of excessive iron uptake. We screened DNA samples from patients with familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) (n = 26), adults with Down syndrome (DS) (n = 50), and older (n = 41) and younger (n = 52) healthy normal individuals, for two HHC point mutations - C282Y and H63D. Because the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) E4 allele is a risk factor for AD and possibly also for dementia of the AD type in DS, DNA samples were also ApoE genotyped. Chi-squared analyses were interpreted at the 0.05 level of significance without Bonferroni corrections. In the pooled healthy normal individuals, C282Y was negatively associated with ApoE E4, an effect also apparent in individuals with DS but not with FAD. Relative to older normals, ApoE E4 was overrepresented in both males and females with FAD, consistent with ApoE E4 being a risk factor for AD; HFE mutations were overrepresented in males and underrepresented in females with FAD. Strong gender effects on the distribution of HFE mutations were apparent in comparisons among ApoE E4 negative individuals in the FAD and healthy normal groups (P < 0.002). Our findings are consistent with the proposition that among ApoE E4 negative individuals HFE mutations are predisposing to FAD in males but are somewhat protective in females. Further, ApoE E4 effects in our FAD group are strongest in females lacking HFE mutations. Relative to younger normals there was a tendency for ApoE E4 and H63D to be overrepresented in males and underrepresented in females with DS. The possibility that HFE mutations are important new genetic risk factors for AD should be pursued further. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 3 2000


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • C282Y
  • Down syndrome
  • H63D
  • Hereditary hemochromatosis mutations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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