Reimagining Alzheimer’s (Part 2): Breaking The Barrier

In the first installment of this series about Alzheimer’s disease, we discussed a general overview of Alzheimer’s along with its most well-known biological indicators. Here, we take a deeper dive into the disease by focusing on a recent paper that explores the primary genetic risk factor of Alzheimer’s. This risk factor is APOE4. Now, researchers believe that APOE4 may induce Alzheimer’s disease by damaging the brain’s main defense system—the blood-brain barrier.

Mutations in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) are one of the strongest risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s. For many years, how these mutations in the APOE gene contributed to Alzheimer’s was not understood because the function of the gene wasn’t originally thought to involve the brain. Now, one particular mutation of the gene called APOE4 is known to be the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s and amyloid plaques, but it is still unclear how.

In a recent paper, researchers at the University of Southern California describe how APOE4 may cause molecular changes to a structure in the brain called the blood-brain barrier, leading to cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients. This discovery is an exciting clue into the root cause of cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Read the full article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.