Whether or not one of these genes influences the likelihood of developing tau tangles, which are present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, was the focus of a new study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Scientists have proposed a potential underlying mechanism behind why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men.
Women are nearly twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, but there is little understanding of why exactly this is.
The condition is the most common form of dementia, and it affected 5.8 millionTrusted Source Noth Americans in 2020. As the population ages, the incidence is set to increase, and it is expected it is going to affect 14 million people by 2060 in the United States alone. This means that discovering the reasons behind why and how Alzheimer’s develops is increasingly important so that researchers can set new drug targets and doctors can make early interventions. Researchers have identified some genetic variants that are linked to an increasedTrusted Source or decreasedTrusted Source risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including some that only exist in femalesTrusted Source. There have been other attempts to understand the reasons behind why Alzheimer’s, but not other forms of dementia, is more prevalent in females, and hypotheses around the effect of menopause, longer life expectancy, and the immune system have been proposed.
Silencing the X chromosome All human females have a pair of X chromosomes. Early during embryo development one of the X chromosomes will be inactivated, and all cells in the female human body have just one X chromosome that is transcriptionally active. This helps prevent the overexpression of genes that are present on both X chromosomes. There are a couple of genes that escape this X chromosome inactivation, and the reason and impact of this are not entirely understood, as a recent review has outlined. Now, a recent study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, has proposed that one of the genes that escape X chromosome inactivation could contribute to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s in females. It appears in CellTrusted Source.