Using data from 25,000 people, researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and University College London's Institute of Neurology discovered that a rare genetic mutation in the TREM2 gene — which helps trigger immune system responses — is also associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's. The discovery supports an emerging theory about the role of the immune system in the disease.
"This discovery provides an increasingly firm link between brain inflammation and increased risk for Alzheimer's," says Dr. Peter St George-Hyslop, director of U of T's Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases. "This is an important step towards unraveling the hidden causes of this disease, so that we can develop treatments and interventions to end one of the 21st century's most significant health challenges."
St George-Hyslop, renowned for identifying five genes associated with Alzheimer's disease, says the breakthrough is, "another win for U of T scientists who are building on a worldwide legacy of expertise in neurodegenerative research."
The team began by sequencing the genes of 1,092 people with Alzheimer's and a control group of 1,107 healthy people. The results showed several mutations in the TREM2 gene occurred more frequently in people who had the disease than in those without the disease. One mutation – known as R47H – had a particularly strong association with the disease.
The mutation makes a patient three times more likely to develop the disease, although it affects just 0.3 per cent of the population.
"While the genetic mutation we found is extremely rare, its effect on the immune system is a strong indicator that this system may be a key player in the disease," says Dr. Rita Geurreiro from UCL, the study's lead author.
The study is published now in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nicole Bodnar | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy