Alzheimer's disease is not necessarily related to heredity

A study conducted by Chinese (Tongji University) and Canadian (University of Toronto) scientists questioned the genetic predestination of the development of Alzheimer's disease and the characteristics of the course. For the first time in history, the objects of study were monozygotic triplets with the same genetic set.

At the time of the study, the twins were 85 years old. By this point two of the triplets had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease: the disease was discovered in 73 and 76 years. The third twin showed no abnormalities characteristic of the disease. Genetic DNA analysis helped detect a mutation in the APOE4 gene in the twins' DNA — a change in the genome characteristic of late-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Two children born to twins were also the object of the study. One of them developed Alzheimer's disease at the age of 50 and was characterized by rapid progression, the second was healthy.

In the study, scientists determined the biological age of the twins' cells: he was 6-10 years below the passport, while their descendant, who fell ill in 50 years, he was nine years more than the actual. This is consistent with earlier studies showing that accelerated aging of neurons in the prefrontal cortex leads to cognitive impairment and the accumulation of an amyloid protein, from which plaques form in the brain in Alzheimer's. 

This study showed that the presence of genetic changes common of the disease does not predetermine their appearance and characteristics. In some cases, the disease may occur in a more aggressive and early scenario, and in others - it does not manifest. According to scientists, this discovery suggests that the activity of genes that carry information about the disease can be influenced.

Dec. 16, 2019, 12:35 p.m.

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