Nav: Home

Study finds key Alzheimer's gene (APOE) acts differently in Caribbean Hispanics

November 07, 2019

Researchers looking to unlock the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease have revealed new insights from old variants.

A gene called apolipoprotein E (APOE), long implicated in Alzheimer's disease, has two variants that act differently among Caribbean Hispanics depending on the ancestral origin, according to a study published in Alzheimer's and Dementia.

In this study, individuals with African-derived ancestry in their APOE gene had 39 percent lower odds of Alzheimer's than individuals with European-derived APOE.

"It's the same variant but behaving differently," said lead author Elizabeth Blue, associate professor in the Division of Medical Genetics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The study looked at the relationship between APOE and Alzheimer's between 3,067 Caribbean Hispanics and 3,028 individuals of European descent.

There are three well-known forms of the APOE gene, called alleles: APOE E2, APOE E3 and APOE E4. Each individual has two copies of the gene, and the combination determines their APOE genotype, which can then influence their risk for Alzheimer's disease.

The E2 form is associated with protective effects, while the E4 form is the strongest genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease. Overall, the protective E2 and harmful E4 effects on Alzheimer's disease were still significant in the Caribbean Hispanics, but had half the impact than what's observed in the European-ancestry sample.

"The results from our study have important implications for the use of personalized genetic risk in populations with diverse ancestries, even for well-established risk factors," said senior author Timothy Thornton, associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Researchers said additional studies using larger and more diverse datasets are needed to evaluate the complex relationship between ancestry, APOE and Alzheimer's disease.

"When trying to understand the genetic risk of disease, there needs to be a diverse group of people to look at it from all angles," noted Blue.
-end-
Co-authors include Andre Horimoto, acting instructor of biostatistics; Ellen Wijsman, UW professor of medical genetics and biostatistics and adjunct professor of genome sciences; and Shubhabrata Mukherjee, research associate professor of general internal medicine.

Implications: A cure for Alzheimer's will need to account for a diverse gene pool.

University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Related Disease Articles:

Contact sports associated with Lewy body disease, Parkinson's disease symptoms, dementia
There is mounting evidence that repetitive head impacts from contact sports and other exposures are associated with the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia.
In kidney disease patients, illicit drug use linked with disease progression and death
Among individuals with chronic kidney disease, hard illicit drug use was associated with higher risks of kidney disease progression and early death.
Parkinson's disease among patients with inflammatory bowel disease
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease appeared more likely than patients without the disorder to develop Parkinson's disease, while anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy for inflammatory bowel disease was associated with reduced incidence of Parkinson's in a new study that analyzed administrative claims data for more than 170 million patients.
Despite reductions in infectious disease mortality in US, diarrheal disease deaths on the rise
Deaths from infectious diseases have declined overall in the United States over the past three decades.
Defects on regulators of disease-causing proteins can cause neurological disease
Mutations in human PUMILIO1, a gene that regulates Ataxin1 production, cause conditions similar to spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1).
Diabetes drug shows potential as disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson's disease
A drug commonly used to treat diabetes may have disease-modifying potential to treat Parkinson's disease, a new UCL-led study in The Lancet suggests, paving the way for further research to define its efficacy and safety.
Findings support role of vascular disease in development of Alzheimer's disease
Among adults who entered a study more than 25 years ago, an increasing number of midlife vascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking, were associated with elevated levels of brain amyloid (protein fragments linked to Alzheimer's disease) later in life, according to a study published by JAMA.
Dietary factors associated with substantial proportion of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and disease
Nearly half of all deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in the US in 2012 were associated with suboptimal consumption of certain dietary factors, according to a study appearing in the March 7 issue of JAMA.
Study links changes in oral microbiome with metabolic disease/risk for dental disease
A team of scientists from The Forsyth Institute and the Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait have found that metabolic diseases, which are characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity -- leads to changes in oral bacteria and puts people with the disease at a greater risk for poor oral health.
Fatty liver disease contributes to cardiovascular disease and vice versa
For the first time, researchers have shown that a bi-directional relationship exists between fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.
More Disease News and Disease Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.