Researchers have identified altered expression of a gene called ANK1, which only recently has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, in specific cells in the brain.
Researchers studied microglia, astrocytes and neurons in individuals with a pathological diagnosis of Alzheimers using the precise laser capture microdissection technique and compared them to brain samples from healthy individuals and to individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
After sequencing the cell types, the researchers found that altered ANK1 expression originates in microglia, found in the brain and central nervous system, according to the study published in PLOS ONE.
The three of the cell types in this study came from the hippocampus, one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage from Alzheimer’s, resulting in short-term memory loss and disorientation. Individuals with extensive damage to the hippocampus are unable to form and retain new memories.
Alzheimer’s features many signs of chronic inflammation, and microglia are key regulators of the inflammatory cascade, proposed as an early event in the development of Alzheimer’s, the study said.
Reprinted from materials provided by The Translational Genomics Research Institute.