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Risk Factors Identified for Alzheimer's Disease

Inflammatory profile indicates risk of Alzheimer's for those with a parent with the disease

THURSDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure and inflammatory markers signal an increased risk for the development of Alzheimer's disease among middle-aged persons who have a parent with the disease, according to a study in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Eric van Exel, M.D., of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands, compared 206 offspring from 92 families who had a parent with late-onset Alzheimer's disease and 200 offspring from 97 families without a parent with Alzheimer's disease. The groups were monitored for the presence of the APOEε4 genotype, vascular factors, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines production when stimulated with lipopolysaccharide, and markers of inflammation.

The APOEε4 genotype was more common among the offspring who had a parent with Alzheimer's disease (47 percent) than among the offspring with no parent with the disease (21 percent). The offspring of a parent with Alzheimer's disease also had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures and lower ankle brachial indices than an offspring without a parent with the disease. Pro-inflammatory cytokines in offspring of a parent with the disease exhibited higher levels of IL-1β, IL-1β to IL-1ra ratio, tumor necrosis factor α, IL-6, and interferon γ.

"Hypertension and the expression of an innate pro-inflammatory cytokine profile in middle age are early risk factors of Alzheimer's disease in old age. For the offspring of affected families, it provides clues for screening and preventive strategies, of which blood pressure control can be implemented directly," the authors write.

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