Gene, Linked for 1st Time to Alzheimer’s, May Lead to Blood Test of Susceptibility

Gene, Linked for 1st Time to Alzheimer’s, May Lead to Blood Test of Susceptibility
Researchers have identified a new gene, called Rgs2 (Regulator of Protein Signaling 2), whose expression levels may be used in future diagnostic blood tests for early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is the first time that this gene is implicated in AD. The study, “RGS2 expression predicts amyloid-β sensitivity, MCI and Alzheimer’s disease: genome-wide transcriptomic profiling and bioinformatics data mining,” published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, may also lead to new treatments, as Rgs2 expression levels suggested a sensitivity to the more toxic effects of plaque deposits in the brain. Amyloid-beta plaque deposits are regarded as a key step in the development of Alzheimer's. How these plaques contribute to disease pathology still raises doubts, however, as plaque deposits are also found in in vivo brain images of elderly people without signs of dementia. Previous studies have suggested that amyloid-beta brain deposits may constitute, per se, a feature of an aging brain, but certain individuals may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of accumulated deposits than others. "Alzheimer's researchers have until now zeroed in on two specific pathological hallmarks of the chronic neurodegenerative disease: deposits of misfolded amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide plaques, and phosphorylated tau protein neurofibrillary tangles found in diseased brains," one of the study's lead authors, Dr.  David Gurwitz of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, said in a
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