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Pharmacogenomics. 2004 Dec;5(8):1049-105.

Genomic characterization of Alzheimer's disease and genotype-related phenotypic analysis of biological markers in dementia.

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  • 1EuroEspes Chair of Biotechnology & Genomics, Camilo José Cela University, Madrid, Spain.


More than 180 genes distributed across the human genome are potentially involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The AD population shows a higher genetic variation rate than the control population. Significant differences in allelic distribution and frequency exist when AD-related polygenic clusters are compared with other forms of dementia, indicating that the genetic component in neurodegenerative dementia differs from that of other CNS disorders. The characterization of AD genotype-related phenotypic profiles reveals substantial differences in biological markers among AD clusters associated with different genes and/or allelic combinations. AD and dementia with vascular component (DVC) are the most prevalent forms of dementia. Both clinical entities share many similarities, but they differ in their major phenotypic and genotypic profiles, as revealed by structural and functional genomics studies. Comparative phenotypic studies have identified significant differences in 25% of more than 100 parametric variables, including anthropometric values, cardiovascular function, blood pressure, lipid metabolism, uric acid metabolism, peripheral calcium homeostasis, liver function, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, red and white blood cells, regional brain atrophy, and brain blood flow velocity. Functional genomic studies incorporating apolipoprotein E (APOE)-related changes in biological markers extended the difference between AD and DVC by up to 57%. Structural genomic studies with AD-related genes, including APP, MAPT, APOE, PS1, PS2, A2M, ACE, AGT, cFOS, and PRNP, demonstrate different genetic profiles in AD and DVC, with an absolute genetic variation rate in the range of 30-80%, depending upon genes and genetic clusters. The relative polymorphic variation in genetic clusters integrated by two, three or four genes associated with AD ranges from 1 to 3%. The main phenotypic differences in AD are genotype dependent, indicating a powerful influence of polygenic factors on the AD phenotypic profile. All these genotypic and phenotypic variations bring about important consequences for the pharmacogenomics of AD.

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