Gene linked to Alzheimers in women unveiled

January 12th, 2009 - 1:05 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 12 (ANI): Mayo clinic scientists claim that they have unmasked a gene responsible for increasing the risk of Alzheimers in women.

In a study involving 844 patients affected with Alzheimer’’s disease, the researchers found that the women who had inherited two copies of a variant in the PCDH11X gene, found on the X chromosome, were at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’’s disease.

During the study, the variant was found in 79 percent of unaffected women; 50 percent had one copy and 29 percent had two.

Since men have one X and one Y chromosome and women have two X chromosomes, the variant occurred in only 46 percent of unaffected men where a single copy was present.

“This is a very common genetic variant, and many women who had two copies of it did not have disease. But, overall, the odds were substantially greater that female patients with the disease did have two copies,” Nature magazine quoted study’’s senior investigator, Steven Younkin, M.D., Ph.D., a consultant-researcher at Mayo Clinic’’s campus in Florida and George M. Eisenberg, Professor of Neuroscience in the College of Medicine as saying.

“When we compared Alzheimer’’s disease patients with unaffected controls, the largest and most significant difference was in women with two copies of the PCDH11X variant, who were found more frequently in the Alzheimer’’s disease group.

“Compared to female non-carriers, the odds ratio was 1.75 for women with two copies of the variant and 1.26 for women with one copy. It was 1.18 for men with one copy compared to male non-carriers,” he added.

The study appears in journal Nature Genetics. (ANI)

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