Alzheimer's Caused by Herpes?
Madrid - Alzheimer's disease (AD) could be triggered by the infection of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). A research team working with Fernando Valdivieso from the Centro de Biología Molecular CBM (Molecular Biology Centre) in Madrid found out that the allele 4 of apolipoprotein E (APOE4) is the main genetic susceptibility factor for sporadic AD. Moreover, the risk for neurode-generation associated to enviromental factors such as certain infectious processes increase in the presence of genetic factors as APOE4. The studies in cell models suggest that HSV-1 modifies protein phosphorylation and initiates a neuronal apoptosis. In a murine model of hematogenous infection researchers have found that the allelic dose of APOE modulates the neuroinvasivity of HSV-1, pointing to the existence of a functional link between these two factors of risk for AD, one genetic and the other enviromental.