Loss of Y Chromosome in Blood Tied to Alzheimer's Risk in Men

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Loss of Y Chromosome in Blood Tied to Alzheimer's Risk in Men
Loss of Y Chromosome in Blood Tied to Alzheimer's Risk in Men

TUESDAY, May 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Men who experience the loss of chromosome Y (LOY) from their blood cells as they age may have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online May 23 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

For the study, Lars Forsberg, Ph.D., a researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues evaluated blood samples from 3,218 European men, average age 73. Overall, 17 percent had a detectable LOY in some of their blood cells.

When the researchers focused on men free from Alzheimer's at the outset, they found that LOY predicted a higher risk of developing the disease. And the greater the loss, the higher the risk: Men missing the chromosome from around 35 percent of their blood cells were more likely to develop Alzheimer's than those with LOY in 10 percent of their cells.

Since scientists do not fully understand the workings of chromosome Y, the reasons for the link are unclear. But Forsberg speculated that impaired immune function could play a role -- since LOY has been tied to cancer risk as well.

Two authors are shareholders in Cray Innovation, with a patent application protecting any commercial utilization arising from this study.

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