DNA methylation in Alzheimer’s disease 

Carolina Soriano-Tarraga, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Project Summary:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. AD is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

Scientists don't yet fully understand what causes AD in most people. The causes probably include a combination of age-related changes in the brain, along with genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of AD may differ from person to person. However, the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with AD are age 65 and older. 

For this reason, we want to determine changes in blood DNA methylation, a modification of the DNA, in AD and controls participants at two time points (early and late stages) of the disease. We will compare these results to brain DNA methylation from the same individuals. This information could be use as biomarker of AD diagnosis, progression, and prognosis, to improve the understanding of what causes AD and as new drug target discovery. This will give us information regarding if there is an accelerated aging in AD patients in early stages of the diseases increasing their biological age what it would increase AD risk.