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2017 Grants - Robinson
Proteomics and Lipidomics to Study Alzheimer’s Disease in African Americans
Rena Robinson, Ph.D.
2017 Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity (AARG-D)
How does the body’s ability to regulate lipids influence the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people of African ancestry?
Several studies have found that racial or ethnic background influences the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, people of African ancestry have higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease than people of European ancestry. Some of these differences in risk may be explained by genetic differences, but some may also be explained by diet, living conditions, rates of smoking, and other factors.
People of African ancestry also have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These conditions, along with Alzheimer’s disease, are frequently associated with abnormal cholesterol levels. Thus, the idea has arisen that the way the body manages cholesterol, fats, and related molecules (collectively known as lipids) may explain some of the racial differences in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Renã Angilena Robinson, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed a thorough study of the lipids and proteins involved in the metabolism of cholesterol, fats, and other lipids in people with different racial backgrounds. The researchers will assess if differences between racial groups in these proteins or lipids are associated with differences in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study will include people with normal brain function, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment and those thought to have Alzheimer’s disease.
The results of this research will provide valuable information about whether differences in proteins or lipids related to cholesterol metabolism influence the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and if those differences help explain the differences in risk across racial groups.