A study by the International Genomics Project, published in Nature Genetics, identified eleven previously unknown genes that increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The research, which brought together leading Alzheimer’s researchers, was comprised of four teams from one hundred and forty-five global academic centers working toward the common goal of determining new information surrounding the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the most significant findings of the study, which involved the genome data of 74,076 people from fifteen different countries, relates to the HLA-DRB5/DRB1 major histocompatibility complex region of the brain. The research shows that this same region, associated with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, is involved somehow in Alzheimer’s disease.
The discovered genes revolved mostly around late onset Alzheimer’s, the most common type of the disease. Professor Julie Williams, head of neurodegeneration at Cardiff School of Medicine’s Medical Research Council, says that the teams can now shift their focus to early on-set Alzheimer’s, the most severe form that usually begins around ages 40-50. The Professor says that indentified genetic architecture may make finding new genes easier, and that the genes yield clues for scientists to seek out during research.
These eleven genes bring the total of indentified risk genes to twenty-one, and scientists hope that such findings will help improve knowledge about the mechanisms behind the neurodegenerative disease. The four groups used genome-wide association analysis work that previously identified the first ten risk genes. Professor Williams cautions that although twenty-one of these genes are now uncovered, a large section of genetic risk for Alzheimer’s remains unknown. Williams ends by saying that the identification of more risk genes is imperative to the continued research and development of these findings.
1) Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer's disease; Jean-Charles Lambert, Carla A Ibrahim-Verbaas, Denise Harold, Adam C Naj, Rebecca Sims, Céline Bellenguez, Gyungah Jun, Anita L DeStefano, et al.; Nature Genetics Published online 27 October 2013; DOI:10.1038/ng.2802.
2) Medical News Today (Published 10/28/13). Scientists Discover Eleven New Alzheimer’s Risk Genes. Retrieved 10/30/13 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267998.php
By Emma Henson
The Roskamp Institute is a 501(c)3 research facility dedicated to translating the efforts of its qualified research staff into real-world results for those suffering from neurological diseases. To learn more about our programs and to get information about donating, visit www.rfdn.org.