Somatic Mutations and Alzheimer's Disease

Jocelyn Downey, Jacqueline C.K. Lam, Victor O.K. Li*, Illana Gozes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alzheimer's disease (AD) represents a global health challenge, with an estimated 55 million people suffering from the non-curable disease across the world. While amyloid-β plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles in the brain define AD proteinopathy, it has become evident that diverse coding and non-coding regions of the genome may significantly contribute to AD neurodegeneration. The diversity of factors associated with AD pathogenesis, coupled with age-associated damage, suggests that a series of triggering events may be required to initiate AD. Since somatic mutations accumulate with aging, and aging is a major risk factor for AD, there is a great potential for somatic mutational events to drive disease. Indeed, recent data from the Gozes team/laboratories as well as other leading laboratories correlated the accumulation of somatic brain mutations with the progression of tauopathy. In this review, we lay the current perspectives on the principal genetic factors associated with AD and the potential causes, highlighting the contribution of somatic mutations to the pathogenesis of late onset Alzheimer's disease. The roles that artificial intelligence and big data can play in accelerating the progress of causal somatic mutation markers/biomarkers identification, and the associated drug discovery/repurposing, have been highlighted for future AD and other neurodegenerations, with the aim to bring hope for the vulnerable aging population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-493
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloid-β peptide
  • artificial intelligence
  • big data
  • late onset Alzheimer's disease
  • somatic mutations
  • tau


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