Genetic Variation in the α7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor is Associated with Delusional Symptoms in Alzheimer's Disease

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Psychotic symptoms are common in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and have a negative impact on quality of life. It is suggested that psychotic symptoms may be attributed to genetic risk factors which are revealed during neurodegeneration. CHRNA7, the gene for the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, has been associated with schizophrenia in linkage and association studies. Hence we investigated single SNPs and haplotypes in CHRNA7 in relation to AD with psychosis in a large, well-characterised and previously described cohort within the Northern Ireland population. A significant association between delusions and the T allele of rs6494223 (P = 0.014, OR = 1.63, CI = 1.22–2.17) was found. This suggests that the α7 receptor may be a suitable target for the treatment of AD with psychosis.

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