Newswise — LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 8, 2021) — A recently released paper from the Department of Physiology and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine suggests that your genetics can influence your response to Alzheimer’s disease pathology.
The laboratory of Donna Wilcock, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Physiology and SBCoA associate director, investigated inflammation in human brain tissue from UK’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Brain tissue was analyzed from individuals with different forms of the genetic risk factor, apolipoprotein E (ApoE).
ApoE comes in various forms including ApoE2, ApoE3 and ApoE4. ApoE2 is typically thought of as “protective” and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. ApoE3 is the most common form of the gene, while ApoE4 increases the risk and severity of Alzheimer’s disease.
This work, led by graduate student Courtney Kloske, found that individuals with ApoE4 had a reduced inflammatory response to Alzheimer’s disease pathology compared to individuals with ApoE3.
“This finding contradicts data found from mouse work, highlighting the need to always confirm studies in both mouse and then human tissue,” Wilcock said.
“Because of the differing response depending on genotype, targeting inflammation in ApoE4 patients may not be the best approach according to our research,” said Kloske. “This work shows that your genetic makeup may influence your response to certain types of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Wilcock lab hopes this work will help contribute to moving treatments closer toward precision medicine.
This work was supported by the 1F31AG069372-01, 1RF1AG057754-01, and P30-AG028383 from the National Institute of Aging. None of this work would have been possible without the research volunteers and clinical investigators at the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. This work is only the responsibility of the authors and does not reflect the official views of the National Institute of Aging.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.