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!
Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University
Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences