Posted on 5 March 2021
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: Over the next 20 years, the number of Alzheimer’s sufferers is set to double to well over a million, in the UK.
One of the most significant risks for diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular conditions had been associated with genetic variants of apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene. The APOE protein is produced by three different inherited gene variants: APOE2, APOE3, and APOE
People with the APOE4 genetic variant have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s over the course of their lives, with around a 50% chance of developing Alzheimer’s by the time they are 70 years old.
What did the researchers do: A international consortium of biomedical researchers have recently found that in those of APOE4 genotype, human glia cells (non-neural brain cells that do not produce electrical pulses) accumulate unsaturated triglycerides which lead to a lipid imbalance.
This imbalance promotes the accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques tangles, one of the main pathologies of Alzheimer’s disease. They also found that supplementation of choline into the culture in which the cells were growing rebalanced lipid metabolism in human brain cells.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: This intriguing finding suggests that manipulating lipid metabolism, and ensuring homeostasis, could be a potential therapeutic pathway to mitigate the impact of APOE4 genotype on Alzheimer’s risk.