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Acta Neuropathol. 2012 Sep;124(3):305-23. doi: 10.1007/s00401-012-0996-2. Epub 2012 May 23.

The genetics and neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6100, USA. gerardsc@mail.med.upenn.edu

Abstract

Here we review the genetic causes and risks for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Early work identified mutations in three genes that cause AD: APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2. Although mutations in these genes are rare causes of AD, their discovery had a major impact on our understanding of molecular mechanisms of AD. Early work also revealed the ε4 allele of the APOE as a strong risk factor for AD. Subsequently, SORL1 also was identified as an AD risk gene. More recently, advances in our knowledge of the human genome, made possible by technological advances and methods to analyze genomic data, permit systematic identification of genes that contribute to AD risk. This work, so far accomplished through single nucleotide polymorphism arrays, has revealed nine new genes implicated in AD risk (ABCA7, BIN1, CD33, CD2AP, CLU, CR1, EPHA1, MS4A4E/MS4A6A, and PICALM). We review the relationship between these mutations and genetic variants and the neuropathologic features of AD and related disorders. Together, these discoveries point toward a new era in neurodegenerative disease research that impacts not only AD but also related illnesses that produce cognitive and behavioral deficits.

PMID:
22618995
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3708460
Free PMC Article
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