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

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

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