Scientists Identify Two Gene Variants Associated with Alzheimer's Risk
In the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) reported to date involving Alzheimer's disease, scientists have identified two new possible genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's, the most common form of the disease.
Akinso: Scientists have identified two new possible genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's, the most common form of the disease.
Snyder: Like other diseases Alzheimer’s disease is now believed to be rather complex disorder for which there are multiple genes that contribute to it.
Akinso: Dr. Steve Snyder is the deputy director of the National Institute on Aging’s Division of Neuroscience.
Snyder: We’re seeing multiple genes each with a minor effect summing to contribute to what maybe Alzheimer’s disease but we’re still at the very earliest stages of working with that.
Akinso: In the largest genome-wide association study reported to date involving Alzheimer’s disease, scientists pooled DNA samples from a number of European and U.S. groups. Dr. Snyder explains that increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease was associated with variations in the sequence of two genes.
Snyder: One gene was the clusterin gene (CLU). It belongs to a family that we’re familiar with. And it’s an apolipoprotein J. It helps get molecules into and out of the bloodstream and across barriers and into cells. That’s one of the genes. The other gene was PICALM and what it is involved in is trafficking and moving molecules around within the cell.
Akinso: Dr. Snyder says another 13 gene variants were found that merit further investigation, adding that identifying gene variants advances understanding of Alzheimer’s.
Snyder: If these findings are indeed validated it does put you a much better position to sort of find therapeutics, to find out what it is we can do to slow down or eliminate the disease.
Akinso: This study involved more than 16,000 DNA samples and the findings presented in a recent online issue of Nature Genetics. For more information in the study and Alzheimer’s disease research, visit nia.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Steve Snyder
Topic: Alzheimer’s disease