Aging gene linked to production of Alzheimer's plaques

Share this content:

A gene known to affect the aging process has been linked to amyloid plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered that the gene, SIRT1, controls production of the protein fragments that comprise the amyloid plaques. In research with laboratory mice, the researchers noticed that increased levels of SIRT1 led to learning and memory improvements, while cognitive function appeared to decline when the gene was removed, according to the results of the MIT study. SIRT1 controls production of amyloid precursor proteins (APPs), which form amyloid plaques.

The discovery of the link between SIRT1 and amyloid plaques could lead to promising treatments for Alzheimer's-related memory impairment, researchers suggest. Their report appears in the July 23 edition of the journal Cell.