A polymorphic marker in the first intron of the Werner gene associates with cognitive function in aged Danish twins

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Werner's syndrome is a premature aging syndrome with many features common to normal aging. The possible association between phenotypic markers for normal aging and SNP's in the WRN gene was investigated in 426 dizygotic, Danish twins age 70–90 years. All participants were scored every second year using a number of physical and cognitive tests. In addition their self-rated health was registered as well as self reported status with regards to nine diseases. Blood was drawn from all participants and purified DNA was typed for four SNP's in the WRN gene. The four SNP's were located in intron 1, exon 6, exon 9 and exon 34. In an unpaired analysis of this material a significant association between the intron 1 SNP and cognitive function was demonstrated. Our finding, which will need corroboration in independent samples, therefore may suggest that the t-allele of the intron 1 SNP is beneficial to cognitive function. However, since the t-allele of this SNP is very rare, we did not encounter any tt-homozygous individuals for this allele.

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