To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.
2016 Grants - Vardarajan
Sequencing in Healthy APOE e4 Samples to Identify Protective Variants in Alzheimer’s Disease
Badri N. Vardarajan, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
2016 New Investigator Research Grant
What are the unique genetic factors that may protect people at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease?
The apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene codes for the production of ApoE protein, a naturally occurring protein in the brain. It is thought that altered levels of this protein may play a role in the Alzheimer’s disease process. There are different versions of the APOE gene, and one of those versions, known as APOE epsilon 4 (APOE-e4) is known to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who inherit one copy of APOE-e4 have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Those who inherit two copies have an even higher risk, but not a certainty.
Even though the APOE-e4 gene is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, some people with two copies of the gene do not get the disease, or do so at a much later age than other people with two copies of the gene. These observations suggest that there may be other genetic factors that modify or reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in people with the APOE-e4 variation.
Badri N. Vardarajan, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed studying the genetic sequences of people who carry two copies of the APOE-e4 gene but who do not have Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of this work is to identify versions of other genes that may protect carriers from the risk associated with the APOE-e4 gene. Once such protective genes are identified, the researchers will study their function in detail to determine the molecular mechanisms that may underlie their beneficial effects.
The research proposed by Dr. Vardarajan may help scientists identify unique genes that modify or reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This work will also give new insight into factors playing a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Such knowledge may lead to the development of drug treatments that mimic the effects of protective genes, possibly leading to novel ways to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease.