Genes linked to Alzheimer’s discovered

Washington, April 5 (IANS) Scientists have detected genes related to Alzheimer’s disease that could provide a new tool for therapy, says a recent study.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a new set of genetic markers for Alzheimer’s that point to a second pathway through which the disease develops.

Much of the genetic research on Alzheimer’s centres on amyloid-beta, a key component of brain plaques that build up in the brains of people with the disease.

In the new study, the scientists identified several genes linked to the tau protein, which is found in the tangles that develop in the brain as Alzheimer’s progresses and patients develop dementia.

The findings may help provide targets for a different class of drugs that could be used for treatment, reports Science Daily.

The researchers report their findings in the online April 24 issue of the journal Neuron.

“We measured the tau protein in the cerebrospinal fluid and identified several genes that are related to high levels of tau and also affect risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” said senior investigator Alison M. Goate, D.Phil, the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Genetics in Psychiatry.

“As far as we’re aware, three of these genes have no effect on amyloid-beta, suggesting that they are operating through a completely different pathway,” the researchers said.

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