Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Controls Age At Onset Of Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Diseases

Date:
October 22, 2003
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
By applying a new technique that combines independent lines of genomic evidence, Duke University Medical Center researchers and colleagues have identified a single gene that influences the age at which individuals first show symptoms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

DURHAM, N.C. - By applying a new technique that combines independent lines of genomic evidence, Duke University Medical Center researchers and colleagues have identified a single gene that influences the age at which individuals first show symptoms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Such genes that can impact patients' age at onset for the two very prevalent neurological disorders are of particular interest as alternative targets for treatment, said Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Human Genetics. Drugs that delay the onset of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases beyond the normal human lifespan would effectively prevent them in patients at risk for the disorders, she added.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia among people over the age of 65, affecting up to 4 million Americans. Parkinson's disease -- characterized by tremors, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slow movements and a lack of balance -- afflicts approximately 50,000 Americans each year. Both are complex disorders involving multiple genes.

"Although physicians generally consider Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases to be distinct disorders, the two exhibit a lot of overlap both clinically and pathophysiologically," said Jeffery Vance, M.D., director of Duke's Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center and associate director of the Duke Center for Human Genetics. "This study emphasizes the similarity between the two diseases by highlighting a single gene that influences their age of onset."

The team reports their findings in the Dec. 15, 2003, issue (available online Oct. 21) of Human Molecular Genetics and will present the work as a keynote paper at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, which will be held Nov. 4-8, in Los Angeles. The major funding for the study was provided by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Alzheimer's Association, the Institute de France, and the American Federation for Aging Research.

The team's earlier work identified a broad chromosomal region linked to the age at onset of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The new research -- led by Pericak-Vance, Vance, John Gilbert, Ph.D. and Yi-Ju Li, Ph.D., of the Duke Center for Human Genetics and Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center -- narrows that region of the genome, which contained many hundreds of genes, to a single gene known as glutathione S-transferase omega-1 or GSTO1.

The researchers overlaid three independent lines of genetic evidence to reveal those genes more likely to play a role in the disorders' age at onset -- a method, called genomic convergence, which the Duke team developed.

The researchers first focused on Alzheimer's disease by comparing the activity of genes in the hippocampus -- a part of the brain affected by the disorder -- of unaffected individuals and Alzheimer's patients. The experiment uncovered four genes, including GSTO1, located in the region of the genome earlier linked to age at onset, the researchers report.

An additional analysis involving 1,773 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 635 patients with Parkinson's disease later found that of those four genes, only GSTO1 showed genetic differences associated with age at onset.

"By combining evidence based on gene expression and genetic association, we found a gene that modifies when the diseases start," said Li, the study's first author. "Understanding the role this gene plays in Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases may, in the future, lead to a means to delay the disorders' onset," she added, noting that even a short delay would benefit at-risk patients.

The Center for Human Genetics is one of five centers within Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. The institute represents Duke University's comprehensive response to the broad challenges of the genomic revolution.

The international research team included scientists representing 17 institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Additional funding was provided by the Hilles Families Foundation, the U.S. Public Health Service, the California Department of Health Services, the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Fund for Alzheimer's Disease Research and GlaxoSmithKline.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Gene Controls Age At Onset Of Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061239.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2003, October 22). Gene Controls Age At Onset Of Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061239.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Gene Controls Age At Onset Of Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031022061239.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins