Integrative computational network analysis reveals site-specific mediators of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease.

  • NORLUX Neuro-Oncology Laboratory
March 02, 2018 By:
  • Ravichandran S
  • Michelucci A
  • Del Sol A.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a major neurodegenerative disease and is one of the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Among several factors, neuroinflammation is known to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of chronic neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, studies of brains affected by AD show a clear involvement of several inflammatory pathways. Furthermore, depending on the brain regions affected by the disease, the nature and the effect of inflammation can vary. Here, in order to shed more light on distinct and common features of inflammation in different brain regions affected by AD, we employed a computational approach to analyze gene expression data of six site-specific neuronal populations from AD patients. Our network based computational approach is driven by the concept that a sustained inflammatory environment could result in neurotoxicity leading to the disease. Thus, our method aims to infer intracellular signaling pathways/networks that are likely to be constantly activated or inhibited due to persistent inflammatory conditions. The computational analysis identified several inflammatory mediators, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a)-associated pathway, as key upstream receptors/ligands that are likely to transmit sustained inflammatory signals. Further, the analysis revealed that several inflammatory mediators were mainly region specific with few commonalities across different brain regions. Taken together, our results show that our integrative approach aids identification of inflammation-related signaling pathways that could be responsible for the onset or the progression of AD and can be applied to study other neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, such computational approaches can enable the translation of clinical omics data toward the development of novel therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases..

2018 Mar. Front Physiol.9:154.
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