Background/Aims: A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the KIBRA gene, rs17070145, was reported to be significantly associated with episodic memory in cognitively normal cohorts. This observation has expanded genetic studies on KIBRA to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Importantly, the association between KIBRA and episodic memory in AD has never been addressed. In this study, we investigated whether the KIBRA rs17070145 SNP influences AD episodic memory and the disease in a Japanese cohort. Methods: Blood samples from 346 AD patients and 375 normal cognitive controls were collected and genotyped for rs17070145. Episodic memory was measured in 32 AD patients, diagnosed for the first time, by use of the Rivermead Behavioral Memory Test (RBMT). Results: We found that KIBRA C allele carriers scored significantly lower than KIBRA non-C carriers on both RBMT total profile score (p = 0.042, effect size = 0.84) and RBMT total screening score (p < 0.001, effect size = 1.42). The KIBRA gene did not show association with AD in our Japanese cohort. Conclusion: Our results evidence a strong association between the KIBRA gene and episodic memory impairment in AD, but show no influence on AD in our Japanese cohort. We propose that KIBRA might have an effect similar to cognitive reserve.

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