Researchers have uncovered a gene in which variants contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men, CNN reports.
Two research groups, one at the University of Chicago and the other at Boston University School of Medicine, found in different cohorts that O6-Methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase, or MGMT, which encodes a DNA repair protein, was a risk gene for Alzheimer's disease among women, CNN adds. As the teams report in a joint paper appearing in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, they each conducted genome-wide association studies in their respective populations of individuals from the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium who did not have apolipoprotein E ε4 risk factor and an isolated group of Hutterian Brethren women. Both analyses homed in on variants in MGMT, and further found long-range interactions between those sites and MGMT expression.
Farrer tells CNN that both cholesterol-related and inflammation-related pathways have been tied to Alzheimer's disease, with APOE reflecting the cholesterol-related pathway, and MGMT now suggests that there could be a role for a DNA repair pathway in disease or that MGMT has an as-yet unidentified role in the other pathways.