Alzheimer’s disease is heterogeneous because it affects people of different origins. Research has shown that more women get Alzheimer’s disease than men. The only reason which has been given for this is that women live longer than men.
Besides this, Alzheimer’s disease is heterogeneous on a molecular level as well because different genes are responsible to induce it in different people.
Research has shown that a mutated apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene on chromosome 19 is responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. But other mutated genes such as amyloid precursor protein (APP) on chromosome 21, presenilin 1 (PSEN1) on chromosome 14 and presenilin 2 (PSEN2) on chromosome 1 also contribute to the cause of this disease. Although the number of cases with mutated APOE gene is maximum, there is a possibility that more than one mutated gene cause Alzheimer’s disease. One important common factor among these genes is that all produce amyloid protein, which is important for neural development. The amyloid protein maintains the synapse and repairs damage within the synapse circuit. A mutation in these genes induce the overproduction of toxic amyloid protein that forms plaque in the brain cells. This plaque inhibits the flow of signals and blood from body to the brain.
The toxic amyloid protein also builds tau tangles around the brain cells. The tau protein maintains the smooth synapse of the information, but tau tangles form plaque around the brain cells. This condition further degrades Alzheimer’s disease.
As there are many genetic reasons for the induction of Alzheimer’s disease, there is a possibility that researchers may find more genes that are associated with this condition. Further research is needed to find more toxic genes and causes that make normal genes toxic.
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