How the APOE gene can modify your risk for Alzheimer's disease

Nov 13, 2008

One of the hallmarks of the brain of an individual with Alzheimer disease is the accumulation of amyloid-beta peptide (A-beta), something that is believed to be toxic to many brain cells (specifically neurons) and to therefore contribute to the underlying cause of disease. Berislav Zlokovic and colleagues, at the University of Rochester Medical School, have now generated data in mice that mechanistically links a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease with accumulation of A-beta in the brain.

Individuals carrying one form of the APOE gene, APOE4, have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer disease than individuals with other forms of the APOE gene (APOE2 and APOE3). In the study, the proteins generated by the different forms of the APOE gene were found to differentially affect the clearance of A-beta from the brain of mice.

Specifically, A-beta binding to apoE4 led to substantially slower clearing of A-beta from the brain than A-beta binding to either apoE2 or apoE3.

The authors therefore suggest that a decreased rate of A-beta clearance from the brain might contribute to the increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease observed for individuals carrying the APOE4 form of the APOE gene.

The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Study reveals one reason brain tumors are more common in men

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Clues to curbing obesity found in neuronal 'sweet spot'

5 hours ago

Preventing weight gain, obesity, and ultimately diabetes could be as simple as keeping a nuclear receptor from being activated in a small part of the brain, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine ...

Small RNAs in blood may reveal heart injury

15 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Like clues to a crime, specific molecules in the body can hint at exposure to toxins, infectious agents or even trauma, and so help doctors determine whether and how to treat a patient. ...

User comments : 0