As people continue to live longer, certain medical conditions are going to become more common. This includes dementia, which can impact someone’s cognitive abilities. One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who develop Alzheimer’s disease can have a difficult time thinking clearly, recalling memories, and performing executive functions. Responsible for the majority of dementia cases, researchers have discovered a connection between Alzheimer’s disease and the apolipoprotein E4 gene. Now, there might be a link between the APOE4 gene and the Klotho protein.
The Klotho protein occurs naturally in the body. It has been a focus of the scientific community for several years because of its relationship to aging. Right now, scientists are trying to develop a treatment plan using this protein, believing that therapy using this protein may be able to prevent the development of dementia in high-risk individuals, including those with the specific APOE4 gene tied to Alzheimer’s disease.
Specifically, the APOE4 gene is responsible for the production of apolipoprotein E. The protein carries cholesterol through the bloodstream, and a specific variation of the APOE gene, APOE4, has been tied to early aging and the early onset of Alzheimer’s.
As of now, the exact mechanism of how this specific gene triggers the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is an active area of research. The answer is still unknown. Individuals with the specific E4 variation are prone to developing amyloid plaques in the brain. When they accumulate, they can cause the death of nerve cells, leading to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, people with this disease can develop something called cortical thinning, another hallmark issue in those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers are still looking at the relationship between the APOE4 gene and the Klotho protein. Researchers believe that individuals with a specific variation of the Klotho gene have an increased production level of the Klotho protein. Researchers believe that individuals with a greater level of Klotho protein may be at a lower risk of developing cortical thinning. Researchers are trying to develop a Klotho treatment that might prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease and those who are at high risk for the condition.