14 January 2010

The longevity gene also protects against senile dementia

"Longevity gene" prevents the development of dementia and memory impairment in the elderly
Dmitry Safin, Compulenta 

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University (USA) found that recognized centenarians — carriers of one of the variants of the CETP gene — do not suffer so much from cognitive impairment in old age.

"The vast majority of papers on the genetic basis of Alzheimer's disease [the most common form of dementia] consider factors that increase the risk of developing the disease," said study participant Richard Lipton. "We approached the problem from the other side."

In 2003, Mr. Lipton's group, which studied a subethnic group of Ashkenazi Jews, designated one of the variants of the CETP gene associated with a certain single-nucleotide polymorphism as the "longevity gene". Carriers of this variant were found to have an increased concentration of high-density lipoproteins (so-called good cholesterol) in the blood; as practice shows, an increased content of these substances reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.

In their new work, the authors investigated the relationship of the "longevity gene" with cognitive impairment in 523 participants of the Einstein Aging Study project — elderly residents of the Bronx, representatives of different ethnic groups and races. The age of all subjects who retained normal cognitive abilities at the beginning of the study exceeded 70 years; scientists observed them for four years, annually testing and recording a gradual loss of mental abilities, cases of Alzheimer's disease and other changes.

"As a result, we were able to find that the carriers of two copies of the "longevity gene" memory deteriorated less quickly, and the risk of developing dementia was reduced," says lead author Amy Sanders (Amy Sanders). "The risk of Alzheimer's disease, for example, was as much as 70% lower."

In people with the "beneficial" option of CETP, the corresponding protein functions less actively. According to Richard Lipton, currently drugs that act on the CETP protein in a similar way are already being developed.

A report on this work is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (Amy E. Sanders et al., Association of a Functional Polymorphism in the Cholesterol Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) Gene With Memory Decline and Occurrence of Dementia).

Prepared based on the materials of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University ("Longevity Gene" Helps Prevent Memory Decline and Dementia).

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru14.01.2010

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