Dr. Iacono’s recent study shows how both genetics and environment influence clinical outcomes in dementia and AD

July 07, 2014

In a recently published study conducted on several sets of twins, Dr. Iacono and colleagues have shown that both genetic and non-genetic factors influence the extent of neurodegeneration that leads to the pathology and cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Investigators performed detailed clinicopathological correlations on post-mortem brain tissue, and also measured β-amyloid load and tau pathology. They found that ApoE genotype correlated well with co-occuring brain pathologies, but that genetic factors alone were not sufficient to determine a patient’s pathology and disease severity.

This twin-autopsy gave Dr. Iacono and his colleagues a unique opportunity to observe clinical and pathologic findings in the context of genetic and non-genetic risk factors in pairs of subjects that shared an identical genetic background. Future studies with larger samples of twin pairs will be useful to confirm these initial observations.

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Diego Iacono, Inga Volkman, Inger Nennesmo, Nancy L. Pedersen, Laura Fratiglioni, Boo Johansson, David Karlsson, Bengt Winblad, Margaret Gatz. (2014) Neuropathologic Assessment of Dementia Markers in Identical and Fraternal Twins. Brain Pathol. Jul;24(4):317-33.

 

Digital microphotographs of postmortem brain tissue. Brains show low levels of AD and non-AD pathologies.

Digital microphotographs of postmortem brain tissue. Brains show low levels of AD and non-AD pathologies.