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Medicine: Genetic risk areas for Alzheimer's disease identified

Medicine: Genetic risk areas for Alzheimer’s disease identified


Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease in which nerve cells die, the causes of which are inherited in up to 80%. A research team with Austrian participation has now identified approximately 75 of the 100 high-risk genetic loci.

The majority of these (42) were previously unknown. This makes it easier to identify outbreak risks, the team rewritten Celine Billings And the Jane Charles Lambert from the University of Lille (France) in the journal Nature Genetics.. Researchers compared the genomes of more than 111,000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and more than 677,000 people without dementia. Doctors from the Donaustadt Clinic in Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna and the Medical University of Graz participated in the study.

Inflammation and abnormal protein folding genes

In the known risk areas, there were genes for the proteins that cause characteristic deposits in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, beta-amyloid plaques and tau fibers. Moreover, several dangerous genes are active in immune cells called “microglia,” which normally protect the brain by removing plaques, but sometimes reach a “tipping point” and destroy thinking cells instead.

The newly discovered risk areas contain genes for a messenger substance called tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which promotes inflammatory reactions. There are also genes for a device called ‘lubac’ that distinguishes crosslinked (unfolded) proteins so that they are removed by scavenging from cellular trash and do no harm.

Better predictions can be imagined

According to the researchers, the latest findings suggest that fewer than 100 genetic loci determine the inherited risk of Alzheimer’s disease: “If these estimates are correct, our study has already distinguished a large proportion of them.” The new data makes predictions more reliable about whether these estimates are correct. They explain that someone is at risk of developing dementia. In addition, there will now be additional targets for therapies.

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