Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify new genetics risks for Alzheimer's disease

13.11.2013
An International study examined the genome of more than 74,000 individuals

An international research consortium with the participation of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Bonn University Hospital has identified 11 previously unknown genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

The genome of over 25,000 patients as well as more than 48,000 healthy controls was analyzed to this end. The results have been published in the scientific journal “Nature Genetics”.

Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia. It is triggered by the death of brain cells and occurs in two variants: The so-called familial variant is relatively rare. It is caused by certain mutations in the genome and usually manifests itself already before the age of 65. However, more than 90 percent of the cases occur at an older age. The exact causes of this “sporadic” form of the disease are enigmatic. However, it is known that a disease may be favored by genetic traits, even though it may not necessarily be triggered by it.

So far, 11 such risk factors were known. A further 11 have now been identified by a team of researchers from the US and Europe. For this several universities and research institutions collaborated within the framework of the “International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project” (IGAP).

Large amounts of data

“Such an endeavor is enormously complex and requires the cooperation of many partners. We in particular contributed clinical data. This included anonymous genetic data of about one thousand patients that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Alfredo Ramirez, who is a researcher at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of Bonn University Hospital.

The memory clinic played an important role, explains Professor Frank Jessen, who is Deputy Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and also a researcher affiliated to the DZNE: “Longtime preparations are needed for such a study. On the basis of our memory clinic we have been in touch with people diagnosed with memory disorders for many years. Through this we have been able to build up an extensive repository of genetic data from patients. We made this data available for the study.”

“In the case of such genetic studies, it is ultimately a matter of comparing the genomes of patients and controls,” explains Dr. Tim Becker from the Bonn site of the DZNE. Within the framework of the now published study he focused in particular on the analysis of genetic data. “We searched for genetic traits that are prevalent in persons that have been diagnosed with the disease. In order to do so, genetic data from many people has to be compared. This is the only way to obtain meaningful results and to distinguish random signals from real findings.”

Important contributions also came from the Institute of Human Genetics of the Bonn University Hospital. “We genotyped samples of DNA. This is very similar to doing genetic fingerprinting,” says Professor Markus Nöthen, head of the Institute.

Screening the genome

The IGAP consortium studied the genome of a total of 74,046 people. Of these, more than 25,000 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the others were controls. High performance computing assisted in the analysis of the huge amount of data.

Pivotal to the research were so-called genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The genome, with its billions of building blocks, was thereby not fully cataloged, but instead only examined at relevant positions. This type of screening saves time and money, while at the same time providing a good coverage. The researchers examined about seven million positions.

Critical positions

“We identified eleven positions in the human genome that were previously largely ignored. However, if certain alterations are present there, the probability of developing Alzheimer’s increases,” says Becker. “Yet, this increased risk does not necessarily lead to disease.”

So far the researchers do not yet know in detail what role the affected regions play. “Some of these genes are related to Amyloid-beta and tau proteins that are known to be relevant for the Alzheimer’s disease. With regard to the other critical regions, we can not say with certainty what role they play”, says Ramirez. “We assume that they have an effect, for example, on nervous connections and on transport processes occurring inside the nerve cells. In addition, the immune system seems to be involved. As a next step, it will be important to investigate this in more detail.”

Original publication
“Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease”, Nature Genetics, published online on October 27, 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.2802

Dr. Marcus Neitzert | idw
Further information:
http://www.dzne.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Another piece of Ebola virus puzzle identified
17.01.2019 | Texas Biomedical Research Institute

nachricht New scale for electronegativity rewrites the chemistry textbook
17.01.2019 | Chalmers University of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

Im Focus: Mission completed – EU partners successfully test new technologies for space robots in Morocco

Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.

Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Brilliant glow of paint-on semiconductors comes from ornate quantum physics

17.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

Drones shown to make traffic crash site assessments safer, faster and more accurate

17.01.2019 | Information Technology

Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

17.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>