Washington: Scientists have identified a gene linked to Alzheimer`s disease which they say also causes a cascade of events that end with leaky blood vessels in the brain, pouring large amounts of toxic substances into brain tissue.
Researchers at the University of Rochester found that the gene, called ApoE4, works through cyclophilin A, known to be bad for the cardiovascular system, causing inflammation in atherosclerosis and other conditions.
Cyclophilin A opens the gates to the brain assault seen in Alzheimer?s, the researchers found.
"We are beginning to understand much more about how ApoE4 may be contributing to Alzheimer?s disease," lead researcher Robert Bell was quoted as saying by LiveScience.
Scientists have already established that ApoE4 makes one more prone to developing Alzheimer`s. And those who carry two copies of the gene have about eight times the risk of getting Alzheimer?s compared with others.
"In the presence of ApoE4, increased cyclophilin A causes a breakdown of the cells lining the blood vessels in Alzheimer`s disease in the same way it does in cardiovascular disease or abdominal aneurysm," Bell explained.
"This establishes a new vascular target to fight Alzheimer`s disease," he added.
According to the researchers, who detailed their findings in the journal Nature, ApoE4 gene makes it more likely that cyclophilin A will accumulate in large amounts in cells that help maintain the blood-brain barrier -- a network of tightly bound cells that line the insides of blood vessels in the brain and carefully regulates what substances are allowed to enter and exit brain tissue.