Study proves revamping of DNA may trigger Alzheimer’s diseases

A new study conducted by a team headed by the Neuroscientist Jerold Chun of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, California has discovered that a scrambling of genes in the neuron of the human brain can trigger and increase the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. This scrambling of genes according to the study does not happen in other cells of the body but in the neurons of the brain. Apart from increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, this genome tampering is also capable of expanding the amount of protein in the brain.

Potentially one of the biggest discoveries in molecular biology in years,have proved genomic reshuffling (known as somatic recombination) which takes place in the brain. Neurons of the brain which often differ dramatically from one another often have more DNA or different genetic sequences than the cells around them.

The study was based on the analysis of the neurons from the donated brains of six healthy elderly people and seven patients who had the non-inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease. During the study, it was tested whether these cells sheltered different versions of the gene for the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is the source of the plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study showed that the neurons seem to contain thousands of variants of the APP gene. It was also found that the content of varieties of APP gene was about six times more in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease when compared those who were healthy.Neurons also have the ability to change their blueprint rather than staying with the same blue print throughout. According to the study, these gene variants are dependent on an enzyme

This capability may benefit neurons by making them capable of generating quite a number of varieties of APP versions which enhance various brain functions like learning, memory, etc. But at the same time, this can pave the way for triggering Alzheimer’s disease when certain specific somatic combinations are produced. These specific somatic combinations can either give rise to harmful versions of the protein or damage brain cells in other ways, thus triggering the chances of contracting Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the study seems very promising, some scientists want more evidence that the particular enzyme has a role. At the same time, this study can be a foundation on which the future studies in this field can be built.