Why is it that not all people with the ApoE4 gene, a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, develop the disease?

Possessing the ApoE4 gene is a well-known major genetic risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but not all ApoE4 carriers develop the disease.

Now researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have shown that ApoE4 linked with chronic inflammation dramatically increases the risk for the disease.

Treating chronic inflammation may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

These findings may help people at risk for developing AD, as corresponding author Wendy Qiu, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and pharmacology & experimental therapeutics at BUSM explains:

“Finding out what mediating factors for ApoE4 increase AD risk is important for developing intervention and prevention of the disease. Since many elders have chronic low-grade inflammation after suffering from common diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pneumonia and urinary tract infection, or after having surgeries, rigorously treating chronic systemic inflammation in ApoE4 carriers could be effective for prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.”

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Over 3 000 people studied

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, which includes more than 3 000 people, researchers studied patients with the ApoE4 gene and those with and without chronic low-grade inflammation.

They found that carriers of ApoE4 with chronic low-grade inflammation, were more strongly related to the onset of dementia as well as AD as compared to ApoE4 carriers without inflammation.

Qiu believes that without chronic low-grade inflammation there could be no difference of Alzheimer’s risk between ApoE4 and non-ApoE4 carriers and that anti-inflammatory treatments could be effective for AD prevention.

Source: Boston University School of Medicine via www.sciencedaily.com

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