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Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2004 Nov-Dec;38(6):495-501.

[Genetic counseling and testing for families with Alzheimer's disease].

[Article in Polish]

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  • 1Instytut Genetyki Człowieka PAN, Poznań.


With the identification of the genes responsible for autosomal dominant early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD genes), there is a considerable interest in the application of this genetic information in medical practice through genetic testing and counseling. Pathogenic mutations in the PSEN1 and PSEN2 genes encoding presenilin-1 and -2, and the APP gene encoding amyloid b precursor protein, account for 18-50% of familial EOAD cases with autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. A clinical algorithm of genetic testing and counseling proposed for families with AD has been presented here. A screening for mutations in the APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 genes is available to individuals with AD symptoms and at-risk children or siblings of patients with early-onset disease determined by a known mutation. In an early-onset family, a known mutation in an affected patient puts the siblings and children at a 50% risk of inheriting the same mutation. The goal of genetic testing is to identify at-risk individuals in order to facilitate early and effective treatments in the symptomatic person based on an individual's genotype and strategies to delay the onset of disease in the presymptomatic mutation carriers. However, there are several arguments against the use of genetic testing both presymptomatically (unpredictable psychological consequences of information about a genetic defect for family members) and as a diagnostic tool for the differential diagnosis of dementia in general practice (a risk of errors in an interpretation of mutation penetrance and its secondary effects on family members, especially for novel mutations; the possibility of coexistence of another form of dementia at the presence of a mutation). Currently, APOE genotyping for presymptomatic individuals with a family history of late-onset disease is not recommended. The APOE4 allele may only confer greater risk for disease, but its presence is not conclusive for the development of AD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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