Association between genetic variants of the cholinergic system and postoperative delirium and cognitive dysfunction in elderly patients

Maria Heinrich, Miriam Sieg, Jochen Kruppa, Peter Nürnberg, Peter H Schreier, Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach, Per Hoffmann, Markus M Nöthen, Jürgen Janke, Tobias Pischon, Arjen J C Slooter, Georg Winterer, Claudia D Spies

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review

4 Citaten (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Postoperative delirium (POD) and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) are frequent and serious complications after surgery. We aim to investigate the association between genetic variants in cholinergic candidate genes according to the Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes - pathway: cholinergic neurotransmission with the development of POD or POCD in elderly patients.

METHODS: This analysis is part of the European BioCog project ( ), a prospective multicenter observational study with elderly surgical patients. Patients with a Mini-Mental-State-Examination score ≤ 23 points were excluded. POD was assessed up to seven days after surgery using the Nursing Delirium Screening Scale, Confusion Assessment Method and a patient chart review. POCD was assessed three months after surgery with a neuropsychological test battery. Genotyping was performed on the Illumina Infinium Global Screening Array. Associations with POD and POCD were analyzed using logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age, comorbidities and duration of anesthesia (for POCD analysis additionally for education). Odds ratios (OR) refer to minor allele counts (0, 1, 2).

RESULTS: 745 patients could be included in the POD analysis, and 452 in the POCD analysis. The rate of POD within this group was 20.8% (155 patients), and the rate of POCD was 10.2% (46 patients). In a candidate gene approach three genetic variants of the cholinergic genes CHRM2 and CHRM4 were associated with POD (OR [95% confidence interval], rs8191992: 0.61[0.46; 0.80]; rs8191992: 1.60[1.22; 2.09]; rs2067482: 1.64[1.10; 2.44]). No associations were found for POCD.

CONCLUSIONS: We found an association between genetic variants of CHRM2 and CHRM4 and POD. Further studies are needed to investigate whether disturbances in acetylcholine release and synaptic plasticity are involved in the development of POD.


Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's10
TijdschriftBMC medical genomics
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 21 okt 2021

Bibliografische nota

© 2021. The Author(s).


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Association between genetic variants of the cholinergic system and postoperative delirium and cognitive dysfunction in elderly patients'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit