Navigation Links
Understanding Alzheimer’s: Genetic search uncovers five new genes
Date:4/3/2011

A leading UK scientist's search for factors that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's has uncovered five new genes to help pinpoint what's going wrong in the brain.

Professor Julie Williams from Cardiff University's MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics has identified an additional five new genes bringing the total number of genes that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's to ten.

"What we did in this study is to follow-up previous work in around 20,000 people with Alzheimer's and 40,000 well individuals and identified a further five new genes that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," said Professor Williams, who led the study.

"Through our on-going research we are finding genes that increase a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, allowing us to pinpoint what may be going wrong, biologically, in the brain," she added.

Published in Nature Genetics, the study confirms that Alzheimer's disease remains a complex condition it's not one element going wrong, rather it's a number of things that are accumulating. If someone is unlucky enough to get all the elements going wrong in the brain the disease process may be triggered.

However, discovering these five new genes has enabled the team to identify a series of patterns where they are able to tell there is something different about the responses of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Specifically, they are able to implicate a number of risk factors including: a sufferer's immune system, the ways the brain processes cholesterol and lipids and for the first time, a process called endocytosis which, in normal healthy brains removes toxic amyloid-beta protein from the brain.

"What's exciting is the genes we now know of - the five new ones, plus those previously identified are clustering in patterns," according to Professor Williams.

"So several genes are implicating the immune system, for example - and it's telling us there's something different about the immune system of people who go on to develop Alzheimer's disease. So their immune response or inflammatory response within the brain is different in Alzheimer's disease.

"Some of the genes are also implicating the processing of cholesterol and lipids in the brain as increasing the risk of developing the disease.

"But what's most exciting is a new area of research which refers to a process called endocytosis - which is basically the way a cell brings in big molecules from outside, inside and processes them in a very specific way.

"We now have four genes that implicate this very precise process and it offers a very big clue that this process is playing a strong role in the development of Alzheimer's disease."

This is not the first time Professor Williams and her team have made such significant gene discoveries. In 2009, she led the largest genetic investigation of Alzheimer's ever conducted, which involved analysing the DNA from more than 16,000 individuals over two years which uncovered new genes closely linked to the illness.

Professor Williams adds: "This study, plus our previous studies, means that we are beginning to piece together the pieces of the jigsaw and gain new understanding. We still have a long way to go but the jigsaw is beginning to come together.

"If we were able to remove the detrimental effects of these genes through treatments, we hope we can help reduce the proportion of people developing Alzheimer's in the long-term."

Common Variant at ABCA7, MS4A6A/MS4A4E, EPHA1, CD33 and CD2AP are associated with Alzheimer's disease is published in Nature Genetics(Embargo: 18.00 (GMT) Sunday 3rd April, 2011) and is funded by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Alzheimer's Research UK and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Research UK said: "UK scientists are leading the field in our understanding of the genetics of Alzheimer's. These findings are a step towards defeating dementia. We are yet to find ways of halting this devastating condition, but this work is likely to spark off new ideas, collaborations and more research.

"UK scientists are making fantastic progress towards defeating dementia and we need to support them all the way. With enough investment in research we can offer hope to the 35 million people worldwide who live with dementia."

Professor Chris Kennard, Chairman of the MRC's Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, said: "Using genetics to understand individual predispositions to disease is a major strategic aim for the MRC. We support research which addresses the big health issues which occur throughout life, so tackling Alzheimer's disease is an extremely important area. These are very exciting findings which, in the long term, we hope will lead to the development of treatments for this debilitating condition."

Dr John Williams, The Wellcome Trust's Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health added: "As our population ages, we will see more and more people affected by Alzheimer's disease. It is distressing both to patients and their families and places a heavy economic burden on our society. Understanding the complex processes that underpin the disease will be essential to earlier diagnosis and to developing improved treatments.

"This interesting new study takes a step further along this path."


'/>"/>

Contact: Chris Jones
JonesC83@cf.ac.uk
44-292-087-4731
Cardiff University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Exploring the limits: Understanding the challenges facing Winter Olympic champions
2. MRC scientists announce advance in understanding bodys natural defenses
3. Health Occupations Students of America, Inc. and the U.S. Army Sign Memorandum of Understanding in Support of Improving Career Options for Nations Students
4. Understanding causes of cancer and chronic disease: The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project
5. Study Makes Strides in Understanding Ovarian Cancer
6. Researchers make advances in understanding causes, treatments and outcomes of liver disease
7. Existence Genetics is Pioneering the Field of Predictive Medicine - Nexus Technologies Critical in Understanding and Preventing Deadly Disease
8. Understanding the relationship between bacteria and obesity
9. Rochester advances understanding of deadly form of malaria
10. Understanding Back Pain May Improve Management, Study Suggests
11. FSU study takes novel approach to understanding pituitary function
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method ... —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a ... such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain ... following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that ... chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent ... special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Maryland (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Angels is actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for ... over the past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... -- One of Australia,s successful biotechnology scientists, ... new biotechnology company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 123] ("Noxopharm"). ... list on the ASX. Noxopharm is a clinic-ready company ... Phase 1 clinical study later this year. ... biggest problems facing cancer patients - the ability of cancers to ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... June 27, 2016 Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: ... under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as ... Celator Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) ... Daylight Time). As previously announced on May ... definitive merger agreement under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ... will take whatever measures required to build a strong ... which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current ... Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in ... understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: