In what is being hailed as a “landmark study,” researchers believe they have uncovered a major cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. Technology from Agilent was used in the study.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that causes progressive problems with memory, thinking and behavior. The disease is believed to be caused by plaque deposits of beta-amyloid (a protein fragment) in the brain. (Alzheimer’s Association)
Our brains contain 100 billion neurons (brain cells). U.S. researchers have discovered that neurons – unlike most cells in our bodies — have a unique ability to edit and reassemble their own genes. Neuronal gene recombination helps expand and diversify all the proteins in the brain.
Unfortunately, it may also cause non-inherited Alzheimer’s Disease.
APP (amyloid precursor protein) is the gene that causes amyloid plaque deposits. The researchers discovered that Alzheimer’s patients had six times as many variants of the APP gene as healthy people. In fact, the researchers found thousands of variants of gencDNAs (genomic cDNAs) in Alzheimer’s patients.
“Neurons from individuals with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease showed increased gencDNA diversity,” the researchers write, “including eleven mutations known to be associated with familial Alzheimer’s disease that were absent from healthy neurons.
“This has implications for cellular diversity, learning and memory, plasticity, and diseases of the human brain.” The researchers hope their discovery will lead to new therapeutics for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s.
The researchers used Agilent SureSelect hybridization enrichment and sequencing tools to identify and target the entire genomic locus of APP.
For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
For more information go to:
- What is Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer’s Association)
- ‘Landmark study’ shows brain cells revamp their DNA, perhaps sparking Alzheimer’s disease (Science)
- Discovery of possible Alzheimer’s treatment (YouTube)
- Somatic APP gene recombination in Alzheimer’s disease and normal neurons
- Agilent Hybridization-based Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)