The largest international study ever conducted on Alzheimer’s disease, the I-GAP (International Genomics Alzheimer’s Project) consortium has identified eleven new regions of the genome involved in the onset of the disease.

This research gives an overview of the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease, opening up to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease.

These results, detailed inNature Genetics, could not have been obtained without this unique worldwide collaborative effort.

In addition to the well-established association at the APOE locus, they identified 19 genomic regions significantly associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, 11 of which are new susceptibility loci. Their findings reinforce pathways previously implicated in Alzheimer’s disease pathology, including immune response, inflammation, cell migration and lipid transport pathways. They also suggest new candidate genes and pathways that may be involved in disease risk.

These 11 new confirmed genes can open new avenues in the understanding of the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Thus one of the most significant associations were found in the region HLA-DRB5/DRB1 major histocompatibility complex. This finding is interesting in several ways. First, it confirms the involvement of the immune system in disease. In addition, this same region is also found associated with two other neurodegenerative diseases, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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November 1, 2013