AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Researchers Identify New Gene Linked to Amyloid Beta Plaque Buildup in Alzheimer's Disease

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A newly discovered immune system gene may have stronger association with Alzheimer’s disease than any other known structure, hopefully steering future research and treatments. A multi-institutional team led by the Indiana University School of Medicine reported in the journal Brain that a variation in a gene, known as IL1RAP, was shown to be linked to greater amyloid plaque accumulation when compared to previously associated APOE e4 allele, which is currently cited as the most common factor in Alzheimer’s disease. This gene variant was associated with greater atrophy of the temporal cortex, lower microglial activity, faster cognitive decline, and greater likelihood of in-study progression from mild cognitive impairment to full Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The lead researcher commented, “This was an intriguing finding because IL1RAP is known to play a central role in the activity of microglia, the immune system cells that act as the brain’s “garbage disposal system” and the focus of heavy investigation in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.” To learn more about this study, click here.

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