Department of Neurology and Institute of Neurology, Huashan Hospital, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and MOE Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, No. 12 Wulumuqi Road, Shanghai, China. [Email]
Cerebral microbleeds are the presence of a group of pathological processes affecting the small arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and venules of the brain. Previous studies showed that cerebral microbleeds were associated with higher risk of dementia and stroke. We conducted a genome-wide association study of cerebral microbleeds to identify novel loci associated with the presence and progression of cerebral microbleeds. This study included 454 individuals composed by 176 subjects with cerebral microbleeds and 278 subjects without cerebral microbleeds in a non-Hispanic/Latino white population. Association of genetic variants with the presence and progression of cerebral microbleeds was assessed by logistic regression model. Potential genetic risk variants Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) polymorphisms were independently genotyped and checked the association with the presence and progression of cerebral microbleeds. No single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the presence or progression of cerebral microbleeds were identified at genome-wide significant level (P < 1 × 10-8). A total of 19 SNPs were associated with the presence of microbleeds at suggestive level (P < 1 × 10-5). One SNP was associated with lower progression risk for cerebral microbleeds with suggestive evidence (P < 1 × 10-5). ApoE ε4ε4 was independently associated with the presence and progression of cerebral microbleeds (odds ratio = 2.54, 95% confidence interval 1.08-6.00 and odds ratio = 5.1, 95% confidence interval 1.36-19.16). We highlighted 19 novel SNPs associated with the presence of cerebral microbleeds and one novel SNP associated with the progression of cerebral microbleeds for the first time. ApoE ε4ε4 was confirmed independently associated with the presence and progression of cerebral microbleeds.