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A gene for Lou Gehrig's disease and frontotemporal dementia identified
Date:9/21/2011

Frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- two fatal neurodegenerative disease with distinct symptoms -- are triggered by a common mutation in many cases, according to researchers who say they have identified the mutated gene.

In the study, reported in the September 21 online issue of Neuron, the scientists described the discovery of a genetic mutation that is accountable for almost 12 percent of familial FTD and more than 22 percent of familial ALS samples studied.

They also report that the defect is the strongest genetic risk factor found to date for the more common, non-inherited, sporadic forms of these diseases. It was found in 3 percent of sporadic FTD and 4 percent of sporadic ALS samples in the largest clinical patient series.

The study was led by scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, in collaboration with researchers at UCSF, the University of British Columbia and UCLA. The finding emerged from the identification and study of a family stricken by both ALS and FTD, reported last year. In that study, led by the UCSF scientists and published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, the researchers honed in on the region in which the gene was located.

"Both clinically and at the molecular level this discovery is going to significantly improve our understanding of these diseases," said co-author Adam Boxer, MD, PhD, of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, the lead author on the 2010 paper. The discovery makes it possible to develop a diagnostic test for the mutation, as well as to create animal models that may be used to help unravel the molecular mysteries connecting the mutation to the diseases, he said.

In the current study, a detailed molecular genetic characterization of the family that Boxer described was done in the laboratory of senior author Rosa Rademakers, PhD, from the Mayo Clinic. She and colleagues identified the ge
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Contact: Jennifer O'Brien
jennifer.obrien@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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A gene for Lou Gehrig's disease and frontotemporal dementia identified
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