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Functional biological paths altered in Alzheimer's disease: from genes to bile acids

By Priyanka Gorijala, Kwangsik Nho, Shannon L. Risacher, Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Andrew J Saykin, Jingwen Yan

Posted 02 Feb 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.31.929554

Large-scale genome wide association studies (GWASs) have been performed in search for risk genes for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite the significant progress, replicability of genetic findings and their translation into targetable mechanisms related to the disease pathogenesis remains a challenge. Given that bile acids have been suggested in recent metabolic studies as potential age-related metabolic factors associated with AD, we integrated genomic and metabolomic data together with heterogeneous biological networks and investigated the potential cascade of effect of genetic variations to proteins, bile acids and ultimately AD brain phenotypes. Particularly, we leveraged functional protein interaction networks and metabolic networks and focused on the genes directly interacting with AD-altered bile acids and their functional regulators. We examined the association of all the SNPs located in those candidate genes with AD brain imaging phenotypes, and identified multiple AD risk SNPs whose downstream genes and bile acids were also found to be altered in AD. These AD related markers span from genetics to metabolomics, forming functional biological paths connecting across multiple-omics layers, and give valuable insights into the underlying mechanism of AD.

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