> Diabetes Research > Gene linked to Type 2 Diabetes may cause Alzheimer’s

Gene linked to Type 2 Diabetes may cause Alzheimer’s

A gene for a protein causing type 2 diabetes can possibly kill nerve cells in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine revealed.

The SorCS1 gene controls the creation of amyloid-beta (Abeta) in the brain which plays a vital role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Previously, the researchers associated SorCS1 to Alzheimer’s disease and identified where the molecules lived in the cell, but not how they control Abeta.

The researchers, led by Dr. Sam Gandy, together with Dr. Rachel Lane, determined different “traffic patterns” in the cell of the amyloid precursor (APP) that makes Abeta and uncovered how much APP is converted into the toxic, and ultimately nerve-killing Abeta. In some of their experiments, Drs. Lane and Gandy changed the dose of the diabetes gene and evaluated how that changed the “traffic pattern” that APP used to move around the cell and generate Abeta. Meanwhile, in other experiments, Dr. Lane made small changes in the SorCS1 and again saw dramatic changes in the “traffic pattern” of APP around the cell.

In a report, the said data suggests that SorCS1 controls the movement of APP within the cell between areas where Abeta is readily made to areas where it is not easily made. In turn, the “traffic pattern” influences the amount of Abeta that the cells make. The repercussion is that people with deficiencies in SorCS1 are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease because their APP spends a lot of time in the cell’s area where APP is broken down to make Abeta.

Dr. Gandy noted that the good thing about studying SorCS1 is that they had “entirely new ideas about how to treat both Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 Diabetes.” He added that, “With both diseases reaching epidemic proportions, the discovery is encouraging news that brings us one step closer to developing treatments.”

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