18 April 2022

Brain Aging Switches

Researchers from the ENIGMA consortium led by the University of North Carolina have discovered 15 loci in the genome that either accelerate brain aging or slow it down. These genes can be used as targets for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative brain diseases.

ENIGMA is an international initiative uniting researchers in the field of genomics, neurology and psychiatry, which has already published major studies on schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease.

In order to detect the genomic loci regulating aging, more than 200 ENIGMA employees around the world recruited patients to the study who had at least twice performed MRI. The scan allowed us to determine how quickly the brain gains or loses nerve tissue in 15 areas that control memory, emotions, analytical thinking and other functions. After calculating the rate of change in brain tissue in 15,640 people of all ages, the researchers evaluated almost a million markers in their genome and found 15 loci that influenced the change in brain tissue.

These loci included both well-known genes, for example, the APOE Alzheimer's disease risk gene, and some new ones. Among them were genes associated with depression, schizophrenia and cognitive disorders.

It has been shown, for example, that APOE negatively affects the hippocampus and amygdala, and it is these structures that are most vulnerable in Alzheimer's disease. Thus, different parts of the brain have specific genes associated with the rate of changes in them.

According to the researchers, the described genes that affect the rate of brain change indicate not only the risk of neurodegenerative processes, but also characterize early brain development, which provides new opportunities for studying childhood disorders, including autism, epilepsy and Tourette syndrome.

The article by R.M.Brouwer et al. Genetic variants associated with longitudinal changes in brain structure across the lifespan is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Aminat Adzhieva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru According to Neuroscience News: Genetic 'Hotspots' That Speed up and Slow Down Brain Aging Could Provide New Targets for Alzheimer's Drugs.

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