Research highlight

Alzheimer’s disease genetic associations

Nature Genetics

April 4, 2011

Genetic variants associated with Alzheimer’s disease are reported in two studies this week in Nature Genetics. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is a neurodegenerative disorder with a high prevalence in the elderly.

Gerard Schellenberg and colleagues report a genome-wide association study for late onset Alzheimer’s disease including 8,309 cases and 7,366 cognitively normal controls. Julie Williams and colleagues conducted combined analyses of four previously reported genome-wide association studies for Alzheimer’s disease. Through replication analyses across combined and additional datasets, the two papers together report five loci newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This brings to 10 the number of confirmed Alzheimer’s disease susceptibility loci, and together these include candidate genes with roles in immune function, processes at the cell membrane, and lipid processing.

This work therefore highlights pathways that may be involved in neurodegeneration and Abeta clearance from the brain.

doi: 10.1038/ng.801

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