A study on Alzheimer’s disease by the University of Turku reveals changes in blood samples of Alzheimer’s patients. Scientists detect the new changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease which may help to diagnose it at an early stage in the coming years. The study confirms disease in twin siblings: one of them was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and the other was cognitively healthy.
The recent genome-wide method was used to identify the disease-related differences in the blood samples. These chemical marks are called epigenetics marks. Environment and lifestyle factors have a great impact on these changes. These epigenetics changes were visible in the multiple genomic regions.
The study appears in the September 2019 issue of the journal “Clinical Epigenetics” and is available online to view. Click here to read the complete study findings.
The factors that induce changes in the epigenetic regulation
Genetics, environmental and lifestyle factors play a role in the late-onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental factors can induce changes in the function of genes that are related to the disease. However, this is only possible by modifying the epigenetic regulation e.g. changes in the bond formation of the methyl groups in the DNA.
Researchers isolated the DNA from the blood sample of Finnish twins to measure the level of methylation in the DNA. In the multiple genomic regions, they discovered the epigenetics marks related to Alzheimer’s disease. Some brain samples from the patients of Alzheimer’s disease showed clear marks. Furthermore, a Swedish twin cohort study confirmed the link between marks and Alzheimer’s disease.
There are several other factors e.g. gender, age and APOE genotype, which influenced the strength of the marks associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, the strength of marks is strong in those twin patients who are smokers as compared to the nonsmokers.
Gene inhibits the activity of enzymes in the brain
A previous study on mice shows that removing the genomic regions in the patients affects the learning and memory capabilities. Not to mention, these two are also the main symptoms of the disease. The function of the gene is still not clear. Scientists suspect that gene plays a role in inhibiting the activity of the brain enzymes. These enzymes may alter the code in DNA that helps in the translation of proteins.
Rikka Lund, the leader of the research group, at the University of Turku demonstrates that despite having the new information about the molecular mechanism of disease, we need to do more research for knowing the exact utilization of epigenetics marks in the diagnostic technique of Alzheimer’s disease
According to laud, we need more work to clarify the challenges of these marks e.g. changes in the level of DNA methylation among the individuals. People want to know the potential role of marks in Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms. Moreover, how to locate the exact regions in the brain where the disease cause damage and which types of cells are affected due to this disease.