What genes are associated with Alzheimer's?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 09, 2016
Myra22 asked...

What genes are associated with Alzheimer's disease?


Expert Answers

Dr. William J. Netzer, Research Associate, Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research laboratory at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Netzer's long-term goal is to discover molecules within brain cells that would act as therapeutic targets for drugs aimed at treating Alzheimer's disease. For a full bio on Dr. Netzer and his major findings, please visit: www.ALZinfo.org/Netzer

Rare mutations in any of three genes are known to cause early onset forms of Alzheimer's (before the age of 60). The genes that can be affected are the ones that correspond to: 1) The Alzheimer's precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PS1) and presenilin 2 (PS2).

If a parent suffers from this form of Alzheimer's, the offspring have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene mutation. It is believed that all people who inherit one of these mutations, get Alzheimer's, provided that they live long enough. Alzheimer's that results from these mutations probably accounts for less than 5% of cases (and the vast majority of such cases occur before the age of 60.

Most Alzheimer's cases occur after the age of 60 and probably result from a mix of genes and environment. One of the best-documented gene associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s is APOE4. This is not a mutation but rather one of four variants of the APOE gene. All people carry at least one type (variant) of APOE. APOE4 does not always result in Alzheimer's but is does increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's after the age of 60. There are many other genes and gene combinations that influence Alzheimer's risk. Many if not most of these genes have yet to be identified.


Community Answers

Martydotcom answered...

Not an answer just a statement of fact. My mother in law began displaying the sympotoms of Alz in her early 60' this was in the early 80 prior to the diagnosis being lableled as Alzheimers, vs she's getting old before her time. My wife was diagonsed with Alzheimer in 2007 at the age of 64 and I have two daughters in their 40's living in mortal terror. They know the ravagese of the diseaese having seen their grandmother and now their mother desend into Hell. At this stage with the disease still incurable they are torn by the choice of undergoing gene testing. Trying to convince them that we're all victims of our genes and live is meant to be lived at the fullest every moment