Scientists at Duke University in the United States have discovered that the HIF1A gene plays a critical role in protecting the brain from developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have previously learned that microglia, or auxiliary brain cells, can capture and destroy accumulations of beta-amyloid and other protein debris. However, this does not happen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
In order to understand the reasons for the development of these failures and how to restore the functioning of microglial cells, the authors compared the vital activity of microglial cells in the brain of healthy mice and a special breed of rodents, genetically predisposed to the development of the most aggressive forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
It turned out that the HIF1A gene and associated DNA regions had increased activity in microglial cells of rodents with Alzheimer’s disease. The authors also found similar violations in the work of this part of the genome in cell cultures extracted from the brains of people with advanced forms of Alzheimer’s.
So far, we cannot say for sure how the level of activity of this gene correlates with how quickly the disease develops. We plan to use the CRISPR genomic editor to observe how increasing or decreasing HIF1A activity will affect the rate of development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Gabriel Chu, Research Fellow, Duke University (USA
So far, the authors of the work cannot say for sure how the discovered gene affects the development of the disease.