Nature Medicine: New genetic form of Alzheimer's disease discovered

May 13, 2024  13:14

The presence of two identical versions of the APOE4 gene is the cause of 20 percent of Alzheimer's disease cases. This is evidenced by the research published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Alzheimer's disease is a special type of dementia in which memory deteriorates due to the gradual death of brain cells. Previous research has shown that copies of both—i.e. paternal and maternal—types of APOE4  increase the likelihood of this disease. In a new study, scientists have found that this genetic feature leads to the emergence of symptoms not typical of normal Alzheimer's disease.

Biologists studied the brain tissues of 3,000 thousand patients with Alzheimer's disease, who gave their organs for the study, as well as the biomarkers of 10 thousand healthy patients. It was found that 800 patients had two copies of APOE4. Almost everyone had high levels of amyloid protein in their cerebrospinal fluid around the age of 65, which is associated with Alzheimer's disease. Dementia symptoms started at the same age. Patients with APOE4 may make up 15-20 percent of people with this disease, scientists noted.

These distinct patterns suggest that all patients with two copies of APOE4 suffered from a type of Alzheimer's disease that is different from the usual type.

Scientists believe that the presence of two types of APOE4 should not be considered as a risk factor, but as a cause of a previously unknown type of this disease.

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