Genetic and environmental factors associated with the risk of cognitive decline and dementia

Porcellini, Elisa (2011) Genetic and environmental factors associated with the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Oncologia e patologia sperimentale: progetto n. 2 "Patologia sperimentale", 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3336.
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AD is the most common age related neurodegenerative disease in the industrialized world. Clinically AD is defined as a progressing decline of cognitive functions. Neuropathologically, AD is characterized by the aggregation of b-amyloid (Ab) peptide in the form of extracellular senile plaques, and hyperphosphorlylated tau protein in the form of intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. These neuropathological hallmarks are often accompanied by abundant microvascular damage and pronounced inflammation of the affected brain regions. In this thesis we investigated several aspects of AD focusing on the genetic aspect. We confirmed that Alpha 1 antichymotrypsin (ACT), an acute phase protein, was associated to AD subjects, being plasma levels higher in AD cases than controls. In addition, in a GWA study we demonstrated that two different gene, Clusterin and CR1 were strongly associated to AD. A single gene association not explain such a complex disease like AD. The goal should be to created a network of genetic, phenotypic and clinical data associated to AD. We used a new algorithm, the ANNs, aimed to map variables and search for connectivity among variables. We found specific variables associated to AD like cholesterol levels, the presence of variation in HMGCR enzyme and the age. Other factors such as the BMI, the amount of HDL and blood folate levels were also associated with AD. Pathogen infections, above all viral infections, have been previously associated to AD. The hypothesis suggests that virus and in particular herpes virus could enter the brain when an individual becomes older, perhaps because of a decline in the immune system. Our new hypothesis is that the presence of SNPs in our GWA gene study results in a genetic signature that might affect individual brain susceptibility to infection by herpes virus family during aging.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Porcellini, Elisa
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
3 Maggio 2011

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