Heritability and genetic variance of dementia with Lewy bodies

Rita Guerreiro, Valentina Escott-Price, Dena G. Hernandez, Celia Kun-Rodrigues, Owen A. Ross, Tatiana Orme, Joao Luis Neto, Susana Carmona, Nadia Dehghani, John D. Eicher, Claire Shepherd, Laura Parkkinen, Lee Darwent, Michael G. Heckman, Sonja W. Scholz, Juan C. Troncoso, Olga Pletnikova, Ted Dawson, Liana Rosenthal, Olaf AnsorgeJordi Clarimon, Alberto Lleo, Estrella Morenas-Rodriguez, Lorraine Clark, Lawrence S. Honig, Karen Marder, Afina Lemstra, Ekaterina Rogaeva, Peter St. George-Hyslop, Elisabet Londos, Henrik Zetterberg, Imelda Barber, Anne Braae, Kristelle Brown, Kevin Morgan, Claire Troakes, Safa Al-Sarraj, Tammaryn Lashley, Janice Holton, Yaroslau Compta, Vivianna Van Deerlin, Geidy E. Serrano, Thomas G. Beach, Suzanne Lesage, Douglas Galasko, Eliezer Masliah, Isabel Santana, Pau Pastor, Monica Diez-Fairen, Miquel Aguilar, Pentti J. Tienari, Liisa Myllykangas, Minna Oinas, Tamas Revesz, Andrew Lees, Brad F. Boeve, Ronald C. Petersen, Tanis J. Ferman, Neill Graff-Radford, Nigel J. Cairns, John C. Morris, Stuart Pickering-Brown, David Mann, Glenda M. Halliday, John Hardy, John Q. Trojanowski, Dennis W. Dickson, Andrew Singleton, David J. Stone, Jose Bras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

17 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Recent large-scale genetic studies have allowed for the first glimpse of the effects of common genetic variability in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), identifying risk variants with appreciable effect sizes. However, it is currently well established that a substantial portion of the genetic heritable component of complex traits is not captured by genome-wide significant SNPs. To overcome this issue, we have estimated the proportion of phenotypic variance explained by genetic variability (SNP heritability) in DLB using a method that is unbiased by allele frequency or linkage disequilibrium properties of the underlying variants. This shows that the heritability of DLB is nearly twice as high as previous estimates based on common variants only (31% vs 59.9%). We also determine the amount of phenotypic variance in DLB that can be explained by recent polygenic risk scores from either Parkinson's disease (PD) or Alzheimer's disease (AD), and show that, despite being highly significant, they explain a low amount of variance. Additionally, to identify pleiotropic events that might improve our understanding of the disease, we performed genetic correlation analyses of DLB with over 200 diseases and biomedically relevant traits. Our data shows that DLB has a positive correlation with education phenotypes, which is opposite to what occurs in AD. Overall, our data suggests that novel genetic risk factors for DLB should be identified by larger GWAS and these are likely to be independent from known AD and PD risk variants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-501
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Dementia
  • Genetic correlation
  • Genetic variance
  • Lewy bodies


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