Author(s): Schellenberg GD
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Abstract The genetics of Alzheimer disease (AD) are complex and not completely understood. Mutations in the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) can cause early-onset autosomal dominant AD. In vitro studies indicate that cells expressing mutant APPs overproduce pathogenic forms of the A beta peptide, the major component of AD amyloid. However, mutations in the APP gene are responsible for 5\% or less of all early-onset familial AD. A locus on chromosome 14 is responsible for AD in other early-onset AD families and represents the most severe form of the disease in terms of age of onset and rate of decline. Attempts to identify the AD3 gene by positional cloning methods are underway. At least one additional early-onset AD locus remains to be located. In late-onset AD, the apolipoprotein E gene allele epsilon 4 is a risk factor for AD. This allele appears to act as a dose-dependent age-of-onset modifier. The epsilon 2 allele of this gene may be protective. Other late-onset susceptibility factors remain to be identified.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Hereditary Genetics: Current Research