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Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Dec;32(12):2319.e27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.04.019. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Gene expression reveals overlap between normal aging and Alzheimer's disease genes.

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McKusick Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 733 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a common cause of dementia with a strong genetic component and risk sharply increasing with age. We performed two parallel microarray experiments to independently identify genes involved in normal aging and genes involved in AD using RNA extracted from the temporal lobe of 22 late onset AD and 23 control brain donors. We found that AD is accompanied by significant changes in the expression of many genes with upregulation of genes involved in inflammation and in transcription regulation and downregulation of genes involved in neuronal functions. The changes with healthy aging involved multiple genes but were not as strong. Replicating and strengthening previous reports, we find a highly significant overlap between genes changing expression with age and those changing in AD, and we observe that those changes are most often in the same direction. This result supports an overlap between the biological processes of normal aging and susceptibility to AD and suggests that age related genes expression changes might increase the risk of developing AD.

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