Women Carrying ApoE4 Gene More Susceptible Than Men to Toxic Tau Clumps in Brain, Study Suggests

Women Carrying ApoE4 Gene More Susceptible Than Men to Toxic Tau Clumps in Brain, Study Suggests
Women who are carriers of the ApoE4 gene — a major genetic risk factor for the development of a late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease, are more susceptible than men to accumulating toxic tau protein aggregates in the brain, a study suggests. This finding was shared in a study, “Sex Modulates the ApoE ε4 Effect on Tau 18F-AV-1451 PET Imaging in Individuals with Normal Aging and Mild Cognitive Impairment,” presented during the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) in Anaheim, California. "Sex plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease risk, with females having a higher lifetime risk of developing the disease and an increased vulnerability to genetic risk factors,"  Yun Zhou, a researcher at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and the study's lead author, said in a press release. People who carry two copies of the apolipoprotein E4 coding gene, or ApoE4, have significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease after age 65. In addition, gender has also been found to affect the genetic risk for the disease, with females with two copies of APOE4 variant age 80 or older having a 24% absolute 10-year risk of Alzheimer’s while men in the same age group had a 19% increased risk. A hallmark feature of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of tau protein clumps in the brain, which are thought to precede the loss of nerve cells, shrinkage of the brain, and cognitive impairment. Now, the researchers evaluated how gender might affect the deposition of tau protein in carriers of the ApoE4 gene. "This is the first study to demonstrate that sex modulates the effect of ApoE ε4 on brain tau depositing, measured using 18F-AV-1451-PET
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