Objective: Dysregulation of type I collagen metabolism has a great impact on human health. We have previously seen that matrix metalloproteinase-degraded type I collagen (C1M) is associated with early death and age-related pathologies. To dissect the biological impact of type I collagen dysregulation, we have performed a genome-wide screening of the genetic factors related to type I collagen turnover.

Methods: Patient registry data and genotypes have been collected for a total of 4,981 Danish postmenopausal women. Genome-wide association with serum levels of C1M was assessed and phenotype-genotype association analysis performed.

Results: Twenty-two genome-wide significant variants associated with C1M were identified in the APOE-C1/TOMM40 gene cluster. The APOE-C1/TOMM40 gene cluster is associated with hyperlipidemia and cognitive disorders, and we further found that C1M levels correlated with tau degradation markers and were decreased in women with preclinical cognitive impairment.

Conclusions: Our study provides elements for better understanding the role of the collagen metabolism in the onset of cognitive impairment.

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