Mutations in any one of three genes can cause autosomal dominant, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease: these genes are the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene on chromosome 21, the presenilin-1 (PS-1) gene on chromosome 14 and the presenilin-2 (PS-2) gene on chromosome 1. Pathogenic mutations at all these loci cause mismetabolism of APP such that more of the peptide A beta 42 is produced. This peptide is deposited in the plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
These facts have led to the dominant hypothesis for the disease process: the ‘amyloid cascade hypothesis’, which proposes that overproduction or failure to clear the peptide A beta 42 is always central to the disease. Genetic variability at the apoliprotein E locus is a major determinant of late onset Alzheimer’s disease. The mechanism by which apoliprotein E is involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet known. There are likely to be other genetic factors which impinge on Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: Essays Biochem 1998
PMID: 10488446, UI: 99418070
(Neurogenetics Laboratory, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.)