Discovered novel gene associated with plaque formation in people with Alzheimer's

Findings will offer scientists new targets for potential drugs that can slow, reverse or prevent disease

Foto: Indiana University
Andrew J. Saykin, involved in the study
Andrew J. Saykin, involved in the study

Researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine, USA, combined brain imaging and genetic data and identified a new gene associated with the formation of deposits of amyloid plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

The search not only identified the gene APOE, long associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, but revealed an association with a second gene, called BChE.

"The findings may reload research efforts studying the molecular pathways that contribute to amyloid deposits in the brain as Alzheimer's develops and affects learning and memory," says study author Vijay K. Ramanan.

According to the researchers, the discovery that the gene variant BChE provides for the extension of the deposit plaque on CT scans of people at risk for Alzheimer's disease will renew the search for drugs that could modify the disease, affecting enzyme BChE or their metabolic pathway. Some existing drugs inhibit this enzyme, but it is unclear whether this influences the deposition of plaques.

Overall, the results seem to offer scientists new targets for potential drugs to slow, reverse or even prevent the disease.

The research was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.