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Butyrylcholinesterase genotype and gender influence Alzheimer’s disease phenotype

gender alzheimers bce

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#1 Ruth

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 04:32 AM

Retrospective data are presented to support a spectrum of early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) along a continuum defined by gender and genotype. The putative neurodegenerative mechanisms driving distinct phenotypes at each end of the spectrum are glial hypoactivity associated with early failure of synaptic cholinergic neurotransmission and glial overactivation associated with loss of neural network connectivity due to accelerated age-related breakdown of myelin. In early AD, male butyrylcholinesterase K-variant carriers with one or two apolipoprotein ɛ4 alleles have prominent medial temporal atrophy, synaptic failure, cognitive decline, and accumulation of aggregated beta-amyloid peptide. Increasing synaptic acetylcholine in damaged but still functional cholinergic synapses improves cognitive symptoms, whereas increasing the ability of glia to support synapses and to clear beta-amyloid peptide might be disease-modifying. Conversely, chronic glial overactivation can also drive degenerative processes and in butyrylcholinesterase K-variant negative females generalized glial overactivation may be the main driver from mild cognitive impairment to AD. Females are more likely than males to have accelerated age-related myelin breakdown, more widespread white matter loss, loss of neural network connectivity, whole brain atrophy, and functional decline. Increasing extracellular acetylcholine levels blocks glial activation, reduces myelin loss and damage to neural network connectivity, and is disease-modifying. Between extremes characterized by gender, genotype, and age, pathophysiology may be mixed and this spectrum may explain much of the heterogeneity of amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Preservation of the functional integrity of the neural network may be an important component of strengthening cognitive reserve and significantly delaying the onset and progression of dementia, particularly in females. Prospective confirmation of these hypotheses is required. Implications for future research and therapeutic opportunities are discussed.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: gender, alzheimers, bce

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