BU CTE Center researchers have identified a gene linked to CTE-related outcomes

in News, Research Updates
November 5th, 2018

After 10 years of studying brains donated by families of deceased military servicepeople, football players, and other contact-sport athletes, researchers from the BU School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System have amassed more than 600 brains, a collection they say has grown large enough to enable meaningful analysis of the genetics related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Their latest discovery—about the CTE-related significance of genetic variation in a gene called TMEM106B—could explain why similar levels of head trauma in different people can cause some of them to suffer more drastic symptoms of CTE than others. The findings are described in a study published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications November 3, 2018.

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Jonathan Cherry (from left), Thor Stein, and Jesse Mez are part of the CTE Center research team that has discovered one of the first genes linked to CTE symptoms. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

In the years since the BU brain bank began in 2008, Ann McKee has found that repetitive subconcussive head impacts in contact sports like football and hockey play a huge role in development of CTE. Photo by Cydney Scott