Archives of Medical Science

Review paper
Behavioural genetics of Alzheimer's disease: a comprehensive review

Marcin Flirski, Tomasz Sobow, Iwona Kloszewska

Arch Med Sci 2011; 7, 2: 195-210
DOI (digital object identifier): 10.5114/aoms.2011.22068
Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are present in the course of the illness in up to 90% of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). They are the main source of caregiver burden and one of the major factors contributing to early institutionalization. The involvement of a genetic component in BPSD aetiology seems beyond controversy, though the exact significance of particular polymorphisms is uncertain in the majority of cases. Multiple genes have been assessed for their putative influence on BPSD risk. In this paper we review the behavioural genetics of AD, particularly the importance, with respect to BPSD risk, of genes coding for apolipoprotein E and proteins involved in the process of neurotransmission: serotonin receptors, serotonin transporter, COMT, MAO-A, tryptophan hydroxylase and dopamine receptors. A general conclusion is the striking inconsistency of the findings, unsurprising in the field of psychiatric genetics. The potential reasons for such discrepancy are exhaustively discussed.

Alzheimer’s disease, behavioural disturbances, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, genetics, polymorphisms

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