Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the second most prevalent form of early onset dementia after Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We performed a case-control association study in an Italian FTD cohort (n = 530) followed by the novel SNPs-to-genes approach and functional annotation analysis. We identified two novel potential loci for FTD. Suggestive SNPs reached p-values ~10-7 and OR > 2.5 (2p16.3) and 1.5 (17q25.3). Suggestive alleles at 17q25.3 identified a disease-associated haplotype causing decreased expression of -cis genes such as RFNG and AATK involved in neuronal genesis and differentiation, and axon outgrowth, respectively. We replicated this locus through the SNPs-to-genes approach. Our functional annotation analysis indicated significant enrichment for functions of the brain (neuronal genesis, differentiation and maturation), the synapse (neurotransmission and synapse plasticity), and elements of the immune system, the latter supporting our recent international FTD-GWAS. This is the largest genome-wide study in Italian FTD to date. Although our results are not conclusive, we set the basis for future replication studies and identification of susceptible molecular mechanisms involved in FTD pathogenesis

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This paper was published in UCL Discovery.

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