Investigators at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) announced a link between the brain protein KIBRA and Alzheimer’s disease, a discovery that builds on a previous TGen-led study published in Science, which showed a genetic link between KIBRA and memory in healthy adults.
In the new study, TGen researchers found that carriers of a memory-enhancing flavor of the KIBRA gene had a 25 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The findings were reported Saturday in the online edition of Neurobiology of Aging.
The critical difference found in KIBRA, a protein so named because it is commonly found in the kidneys and brain, was that those individuals with the T-allele gene were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with the C-allele.
“We are now beginning to dig deeper regarding the genetic sequence of KIBRA in individuals carrying, and not carrying, the T-allele. We believe this variation causes a potential lifelong difference in the total levels of KIBRA in the brain, and that this may influence one’s risk for Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Matthew Huentelman, an investigator in TGen’s Neurogenomics Division and the paper’s senior author.
Dr. Eric Reiman, clinical director of TGen’s Neurogenomics Division and executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, said, “This study suggests a link between the inherited genes involved in normal human memory and the predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease. It provides promising new targets at which to aim new treatments to stave off Alzheimer’s and improve memory.”
Release date: Sept. 15, 2008
Source: Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
Filed Under: Genomics/Proteomics