Down-regulation of energy metabolism in Alzheimer's disease is a protective response of neurons to the microenvironment.
ABSTRACT A central issue in the field of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is to separate the cause from the consequence among many observed pathological features, which may be resolved by studying the time evolution of these features at distinctive stages. In this work, comprehensive analyses on transcriptome studies of human postmortem brain tissues from AD patients at distinctive stages revealed stepwise breakdown of the cellular machinery during the progression of AD. At the early stage of AD, the accumulation of amyloid-β oligomers and amyloid plaques leads to the down-regulation of biosynthesis and energy metabolism. At the intermediate stage, the progression of the disease leads to enhanced signal transduction, while the late stage is characterized by elevated apoptosis. The down-regulation of energy metabolism in AD has been considered by many as a consequence of mitochondrion damage due to oxidative stress. However, the non-existence of enhanced response to oxidative stress and the revelation of intriguing down-regulation patterns of the electron-transport chain at different stages suggest otherwise. In contrast to the damage-themed hypothesis, we propose that the down-regulation of energy metabolism in AD is a protective response of the neurons to the reduced level of nutrient and oxygen supply in the microenvironment. The elevated apoptosis at the late stage of AD is triggered by the conflict between the low level of energy metabolism and high level of regulatory and repair burden. This new hypothesis has significant implication for pharmaceutical intervention of Alzheimer's disease.
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease involving the alteration of gene expression at the whole genome level. Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of AD has been conducted by many groups on several relevant brain regions. However, identifying the most critical dys-regulated genes has been challenging. In this work, we addressed this issue by deriving critical genes from perturbed subnetworks. Using a recent microarray dataset on six brain regions, we applied a heaviest induced subgraph algorithm with a modular scoring function to reveal the significantly perturbed subnetwork in each brain region. These perturbed subnetworks were found to be significantly overlapped with each other. Furthermore, the hub genes from these perturbed subnetworks formed a connected hub network consisting of 136 genes. Comparison between AD and several related diseases demonstrated that the hub network was robustly and specifically perturbed in AD. In addition, strong correlation between the expression level of these hub genes and indicators of AD severity suggested that this hub network can partially reflect AD progression. More importantly, this hub network reflected the adaptation of neurons to the AD-specific microenvironment through a variety of adjustments, including reduction of neuronal and synaptic activities and alteration of survival signaling. Therefore, it is potentially useful for the development of biomarkers and network medicine for AD.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e40498. · 4.09 Impact Factor