Previous observational studies have reported an association between impaired glucose metabolism and Alzheimer’s disease. This study aimed to examine the causal association of glycemic traits with Alzheimer’s disease. We used a two-sample Mendelian randomization approach to evaluate the causal effect of six glycemic traits (type 2 diabetes, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1c, homeostasis model assessment- insulin resistance and HOMA-β-cell function) on Alzheimer’s disease. Summary data on the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms with these glycemic traits were obtained from genome-wide association studies of the DIAbetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis and Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related traits Consortium. Summary data on the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms with Alzheimer’s disease were obtained from the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project. The Mendelian randomization analysis showed that 1-standard deviation higher fasting glucose and lower HOMA-β-cell function (indicating pancreatic β-cell dysfunction) were causally associated with a substantial increase in risk of Alzheimer’s disease (odds ratio=1.33, 95% confidence interval: 1.04-1.68, p=0.02; odds ratio=1.92, 95% confidence interval: 1.15-3.21, p=0.01). However, no significant association was observed for other glycemic traits. This Mendelian randomization analysis provides evidence of causal associations between glycemic traits, especially high fasting glucose and pancreatic β-cell dysfunction, and high risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
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