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Herpes Simplex and Alzheimer’s Disease Linked to Single Gen

Scientists have now uncovered graphic evidence that suggests a link between a particular gene named ApoE-4 with the occurrence of herpes simplex infection//. The journal, Neurobiology of Aging, published the results of the research. In older individuals, the same gene is implicated in causing Alzheimer’s disease.

This research now is of much interest to the scientific world. It raises the possibility that occurrence of herpes infection earlier in one’s life time could increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease later. Herpes simplex is a viral infection, often characterized by cold sores around the mouth. Data reveals that this infection is seen in approximately 80% of Americans .The researchers from University of Rochester Medical Center showed that the variant form of the gene which puts individuals at a risk of contracting infection ,also creates a welcome ambience for herpes infection in the brain.

Scientists have been aware since 15 years, that ApoE-4 gene plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. This finding that it also plays a significant role in causing cold sores is new. The data suggests that ApoE-4 may support the ability of HSV to be a more virulent pathogen," said Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., the leader of the team and professor of Neurology, Medicine, and Microbiology & Immunology. He worked closely with post-doctoral research associate Renee Miller, Ph.D., on the project.

The findings, which are based on measurements of the activity levels of the herpes virus in the brains of mice with different forms of the human ApoE gene, bring together several lines of research that have pointed toward a possible role for herpes in Alzheimer's disease. Ruth Itzhaki of the University of Manchester has led the way with several studies showing a correlation between herpes and Alzheimer's. She has shown that Alzheimer's patients who have the ApoE-4 form of the gene have more herpes DNA in the brain region
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