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Tissue-Specific Protein Clusters May Help Predict Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

    A protein homeostasis signature in healthy brains recapitulates tissue vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Overview

      A protein homeostasis signature in healthy brains recapitulates tissue vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease

      Rosie Freer, Pietro SormanniGiulia VecchiPrajwal CiryamChristopher M. Dobson, and Michele Vendruscolo

      Science Advances  10 Aug 2016: Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600947  DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600947

       

      Abstract:  In Alzheimer’s disease, aggregates of Aβ and tau in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles spread progressively across brain tissues following a characteristic pattern, implying a tissue-specific vulnerability to the disease. We report a transcriptional analysis of healthy brains and identify an expression signature that predicts—at ages well before the typical onset—the tissue-specific progression of the disease. We obtain this result by finding a quantitative correlation between the histopathological staging of the disease and the expression patterns of the proteins that coaggregate in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, together with those of the protein homeostasis components that regulate Aβ and tau. Because this expression signature is evident in healthy brains, our analysis provides an explanatory link between a tissue-specific environmental risk of protein aggregation and a corresponding vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease.

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