Recent advances in the genetics of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia with an emphasis on gene-environment interactions

Brenda L. Plassman, John C.S. Breitner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To review recent findings in the genetics of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) with particular emphasis on gene- environment interactions. DESIGN: A survey and critique of recent literature on the genetic etiology of AD and VaD. CONCLUSIONS: Recent research has identified several genes associated with AD, including loci on chromosome 1, 14, 19, and 21. Two of these loci, encoding the β-amyloid precursor protein and apolipoprotein E, have gene products that are well characterized and of evident significance in the pathogenesis of AD. The four genes together probably account for little more than 50% of all cases AD, but other undiscovered loci are likely. Interaction of genetic effects with environmental influences may affect both onset and expression of AD. By contrast, only a small minority of VaD cases can be attributed to a pure genetic etiology. The majority of VaD is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Many of the environmental antecedents also have genetic determinants (e.g., smoking). Knowledge of the gene-environment interactions for both AD and VaD will facilitate identification of early preclinical symptoms of disease, a stage of the disease process during which treatment may be most beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1242-1250
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume44
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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