|Profiling Alzheimer's disease|
March 15, 2002
Here, GNN highlights five papers about gene expression in Alzheimer's disease related to the feature The New Brain Scans.
Postmortem analysis of brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) has led to diverse theories about the causes of the pathology, suggesting that this complex disease involves multiple physiological changes. In an effort to better understand the variety and integration of these changes, we generated a gene expression profile for AD brain. Comparing affected and unaffected brain regions in nine controls and six AD cases, we showed that 118 of the 7050 sequences on a broadly representative cDNA microarray were differentially expressed in the amygdala and cingulate cortex, two regions affected early in the disease. The identity of these genes suggests the most prominent upregulated physiological correlates of pathology involve chronic inflammation, cell adhesion, cell proliferation, and protein synthesis (31 upregulated genes). Conversely, downregulated correlates of pathology involve signal transduction, energy metabolism, stress response, synaptic vesicle synthesis and function, calcium binding, and cytoskeleton (87 downregulated genes). The results support several separate theories of the causes of AD pathology, as well as add to the list of genes associated with AD. In addition, approximately 10 genes of unknown function were found to correlate with the pathology.
DNA Cell Biol 2001 Nov;20(11):683-95.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, affecting as many as 4 million older persons and results from abnormal changes in the brain that most likely begin long before cognitive impairment and other clinical symptoms become apparent. Thus, efforts aimed at identifying methods of early detection and diagnosis for improving AD care might be the most appropriate strategy to initiate promising new treatments and/or prevention. We used cDNA microarray technology to investigate the sequence of changes in gene expression in brain that may take place during the transition from normal cognitive functioning through the early stages of impairment to frank AD. We examined the expression of approximately 7,000 genes in the brains of cases at the early stage of AD dementia using reference sample cases characterized by normal cognitive status. Genes that are differentially regulated in early AD cases were identified and were categorized into gene clusters based on similarities in biological functions. This analysis revealed that selected biological processes, including protein and amino acid metabolism, cytoskeleton integrity, and fatty acid metabolism, are involved in early phases of AD dementia. Most notable is the observation that selected genes involved in neurotransmitter release are differentially regulated in the brains of cases at high risk for dementia. This evidence supports the feasibility and usefulness of cDNA microarray techniques to study sequential changes of distinctive gene-expression patterns in the brain as a function of the progression of AD dementia. The study suggests new means to dissect and classify stages of AD dementia, or neuropathology, at the molecular level.
J Neurosci Res 2001 Sep 15;65(6):471-6.
The human kallikrein gene family consists of 15 serine proteases. We examined the expression of the kallikrein genes in human cerebral cortex and hippocampus by RT-PCR and compared their expression between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and control tissue. KLK1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 14 are expressed in both cerebral cortex and hippocampus. KLK9 is expressed in cortex but not hippocampus, whereas KLK2, 3, 12 and 15 are not expressed in either tissue. We demonstrate an 11.5-fold increase in KLK8 mRNA levels in AD hippocampus compared to controls. The KLK8 gene product, neuropsin, processes extracellular matrix and is important for neuronal plasticity. Therefore, the increase in KLK8 could have detrimental effects on hippocampal function in AD.
Neuroreport 2001 Aug 28;12(12):2747-51.
Recent advances in cDNA microarray technology have made it possible to analyze expression of more than 8000 genes. Using this technology, gene expression in the hippocampus containing neurofibrillary tangle-associated lesions from an Alzheimer's disease (AD) patient was compared with expression in the parietal cortex from the same patient that lacked these lesions. We also compared gene expression using a control brain. The top 20 named genes significantly up-regulated or down-regulated only in the AD brain were determined. The most up-regulated gene proved to be calcineurin Abeta mRNA (CAbeta). In situ hybridization histochemistry revealed that CAbeta was significantly up-regulated in pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus in the AD brain. RT-PCR analysis revealed that CAbeta was up-regulated in the hippocampus from two out of three AD brains while there were no changes in three control brains. Our study suggests that CAbeta may play a crucial role in the pathophysiological mechanisms in AD.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2001 Jun 8;284(2):310-6.
In proteome analysis, it is necessary to separate proteins as a first step prior to characterization. Thus, the overall performance of the analysis depends strongly on the separation tool, which is usually two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE). We have utilized 2DE to begin characterization of the complex pathologic processes in Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present study, we show how a reliable 2-DE database of brain proteins in Alzheimer's disease was created, improving reproducibility by using an immobilized pH gradient (IPG) for the first dimension gel electrophoresis. The recent progress in this field, and future prospects in this area are also discussed. Preparation of brain proteins into a suitable solubilized state enabled us to separate over 1000 well-defined protein spots in each 2-DE. A comparison of the density of the spots identified on the reference map between the AD and control group, showed that 5 protein spots were significantly increased, 28 spots were significantly decreased and 7 spots were specifically detected in AD. Two spots among those significantly increased and one spot among those significantly decreased were identified as GFAP related. It is hoped that comparative studies to identify, quantitate, and characterize the proteins differentially expressed in normal brain versus diseased brain will give insight into the mechanisms of pathogenesis and allow the development of a strategy to control both the etiology and course of the diseases.
Dis Markers 2001;17(4):247-57.
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