Study links virus/gene combination to Alzheimer’s disease

February 6, 2007

Rochester, N.Y. - Ivanhoe Newswire reports that a University of Rochester Medical Center study links the ApoE-4 gene with the herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) virus, which is commonly associated with cold sores but also can travel to the brain.

Rochester, N.Y. - Ivanhoe Newswire reports that a University of Rochester Medical Center study links the ApoE-4 gene with the herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) virus, which is commonly associated with cold sores but also can travel to the brain. In addition, people with that form of the ApoE gene are often more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, and the study says HSV-1 may be one reason why.

The researchers discovered the link between the two in a study involving mice with various forms of the ApoE gene and HSV. While HSV-1 was found in equal measures in the brains of all the mice, the researchers found that the virus was more likely to go into its active stage in mice carrying the ApoE-4 version.

Though the researchers are not sure how HSV-1 and ApoE-4 act together to foster Alzheimer’s, they speculate that this form of the ApoE gene may be less capable of reining in the virus than other forms, thus allowing it to become active more often and inhibit brain function.

The researchers write that their study’s findings show “that the continued exploration into the mechanism of a combined ApoE-4/HSV-1 disease-causing process is warranted.”