New gene targets for Alzheimer's patients found

New York, Jan 9 (IANS): Using a new stem cell model, researchers have identified 14 genes that may be implicated in familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD).

One gene in particular shows the importance that inflammation may play in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, said a study.

Scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) research institute, in collaboration with scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), have successfully generated a stem cell model of FAD.

“These genes provide us with new targets to help elucidate the cause of sporadic forms of the disease as well provide targets for the discovery of new drugs,” said Susan L. Solomon, chief executive officer of the New York Stem Cell Foundation.

The team of scientists produced stem cells and neural precursor cells (NPCs), representing early cells that build the brain, from patients with severe early-onset Alzheimer's with mutations in the Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) gene, said the study that appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

"The gene expression profile from stem cells points to inflammation which is especially exciting because we would not usually associate inflammation with this particular Alzheimer's gene,” added Sam Gandy, director of the centre for cognitive health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a co-author on the study.

"PSEN1 mutations cause the most common form of inherited familial Alzheimer's disease and are 100 percent penetrant - resulting in all individuals with this mutation getting the disease,” informed the study.

The identification of genes that behaved differently in patients with the mutation provides new targets to further study and better understand their effects on the development of Alzheimer's disease, the study said.


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