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See detailA look into the future of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe: an expert consultation
Iftekhar, E. N.; Priesemann, V.; Balling, Rudolf UL et al

in The Lancet Regional Health Europe (in press)

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in ... [more ▼]

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern (VOCs), and public responses to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people remain unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing are expected to increase. Therefore, lifting restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission given vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in summer 2021. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, whilst a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects combined with economic, social, and health-related consequences provide a more holistic perspective on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards a European strategy to address the COVID-19 pandemic
Priesemann, V.; Balling, Rudolf UL; Bauer, S. et al

in The Lancet (in press)

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in ... [more ▼]

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern (VOCs), and public responses to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people remain unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing are expected to increase. Therefore, lifting restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission given vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in summer 2021. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, whilst a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects combined with economic, social, and health-related consequences provide a more holistic perspective on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic. [less ▲]

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See detailNeurodegeneration and neuroinflammation are linked, but independent of a-synuclein inclusions, in a seeding/spreading mouse model of Parkinson's disease
Garcia, Pierre UL; Wemheuer, W.; Uriarte, O. et al

in Glia (2022)

A key pathological process in Parkinson's disease (PD) is the transneuronal spreading of α-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is a presynaptic protein that, in PD, forms pathological inclusions. Other ... [more ▼]

A key pathological process in Parkinson's disease (PD) is the transneuronal spreading of α-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is a presynaptic protein that, in PD, forms pathological inclusions. Other hallmarks of PD include neurodegeneration and microgliosis in susceptible brain regions. Whether it is primarily transneuronal spreading of α-syn particles, inclusion formation, or other mechanisms, such as inflammation, that cause neurodegeneration in PD is unclear. We used a model of spreading of α-syn induced by striatal injection of α-syn preformed fibrils into the mouse striatum to address this question. We performed quantitative analysis for α-syn inclusions, neurodegeneration, and microgliosis in different brain regions, and generated gene expression profiles of the ventral midbrain, at two different timepoints after disease induction. We observed significant neurodegeneration and microgliosis in brain regions not only with, but also without α-syn inclusions. We also observed prominent microgliosis in injured brain regions that did not correlate with neurodegeneration nor with inclusion load. Using longitudinal gene expression profiling, we observed early gene expression changes, linked to neuroinflammation, that preceded neurodegeneration, indicating an active role of microglia in this process. Altered gene pathways overlapped with those typical of PD. Our observations indicate that α-syn inclusion formation is not the major driver in the early phases of PD-like neurodegeneration, but that microglia, activated by diffusible, oligomeric α-syn, may play a key role in this process. Our findings uncover new features of α-syn induced pathologies, in particular microgliosis, and point to the necessity for a broader view of the process of α-syn spreading. [less ▲]

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See detailLeveraging the Potential of Digital Technology for Better Individualized Treatment of Parkinson's Disease.
Fröhlich, Holger; Bontridder, Noémi; Petrovska-Delacréta, Dijana et al

in Frontiers in neurology (2022), 13

Recent years have witnessed a strongly increasing interest in digital technology within medicine (sensor devices, specific smartphone apps) and specifically also neurology. Quantitative measures derived ... [more ▼]

Recent years have witnessed a strongly increasing interest in digital technology within medicine (sensor devices, specific smartphone apps) and specifically also neurology. Quantitative measures derived from digital technology could provide Digital Biomarkers (DMs) enabling a quantitative and continuous monitoring of disease symptoms, also outside clinics. This includes the possibility to continuously and sensitively monitor the response to treatment, hence opening the opportunity to adapt medication pathways quickly. In addition, DMs may in the future allow early diagnosis, stratification of patient subgroups and prediction of clinical outcomes. Thus, DMs could complement or in certain cases even replace classical examiner-based outcome measures and molecular biomarkers measured in cerebral spinal fluid, blood, urine, saliva, or other body liquids. Altogether, DMs could play a prominent role in the emerging field of precision medicine. However, realizing this vision requires dedicated research. First, advanced data analytical methods need to be developed and applied, which extract candidate DMs from raw signals. Second, these candidate DMs need to be validated by (a) showing their correlation to established clinical outcome measures, and (b) demonstrating their diagnostic and/or prognostic value compared to established biomarkers. These points again require the use of advanced data analytical methods, including machine learning. In addition, the arising ethical, legal and social questions associated with the collection and processing of sensitive patient data and the use of machine learning methods to analyze these data for better individualized treatment of the disease, must be considered thoroughly. Using Parkinson's Disease (PD) as a prime example of a complex multifactorial disorder, the purpose of this article is to critically review the current state of research regarding the use of DMs, discuss open challenges and highlight emerging new directions. [less ▲]

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See detailA Pharmacophore Model for SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro Small Molecule Inhibitors and in Vitro Experimental Validation of Computationally Screened Inhibitors
Glaab, Enrico UL; Manoharan, Ganesh Babu UL; Abankwa, Daniel UL

in Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (2021), 61(8), 4082-4096

Among the biomedical efforts in response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pharmacological strategies to reduce viral load in patients with severe forms of the disease are being studied ... [more ▼]

Among the biomedical efforts in response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pharmacological strategies to reduce viral load in patients with severe forms of the disease are being studied intensively. One of the main drug target proteins proposed so far is the SARS-CoV-2 viral protease 3CLpro (also called Mpro), an essential component for viral replication. Ongoing ligand- and receptor-based computational screening efforts would be facilitated by an improved understanding of the electrostatic, hydrophobic and steric features that characterize small molecule inhibitors binding stably to 3CLpro, as well as by an extended collection of known binders. Here, we present combined virtual screening, molecular dynamics simulation, machine learning and in vitro experimental validation analyses which have led to the identification of small molecule inhibitors of 3CLpro with micromolar activity, and to a pharmacophore model that describes functional chemical groups associated with the molecular recognition of ligands by the 3CLpro binding pocket. Experimentally validated inhibitors using a ligand activity assay include natural compounds with available prior knowledge on safety and bioavailability properties, such as the natural compound rottlerin (IC50 = 37 µM), and synthetic compounds previously not characterized (e.g. compound CID 46897844, IC50 = 31 µM). In combination with the developed pharmacophore model, these and other confirmed 3CLpro inhibitors may provide a basis for further similarity-based screening in independent compound databases and structural design optimization efforts, to identify 3CLpro ligands with improved potency and selectivity. Overall, this study suggests that the integration of virtual screening, molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning can facilitate 3CLpro-targeted small molecule screening investigations. Different receptor-, ligand- and machine learning-based screening strategies provided complementary information, helping to increase the number and diversity of identified active compounds. Finally, the resulting pharmacophore model and experimentally validated small molecule inhibitors for 3CLpro provide resources to support follow-up computational screening efforts for this drug target. [less ▲]

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See detailArtificial intelligence in personalized medicine
Glaab, Enrico UL

Presentation (2021, January 13)

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See detailBiomarker discovery studies for patient stratification using machine learning analysis of omics data: a scoping review
Glaab, Enrico UL; Rauschenberger, Armin UL; Banzi, Rita et al

in BMJ Open (2021), 11(12), 053674

Objective: To review biomarker discovery studies using omics data for patient stratification which led to clinically validated FDA-cleared tests or laboratory developed tests, in order to identify common ... [more ▼]

Objective: To review biomarker discovery studies using omics data for patient stratification which led to clinically validated FDA-cleared tests or laboratory developed tests, in order to identify common characteristics and derive recommendations for future biomarker projects. Design: Scoping review. Methods: We searched PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science to obtain a comprehensive list of articles from the biomedical literature published between January 2000 and July 2021, describing clinically validated biomarker signatures for patient stratification, derived using statistical learning approaches. All documents were screened to retain only peer-reviewed research articles, review articles or opinion articles, covering supervised and unsupervised machine learning applications for omics-based patient stratification. Two reviewers independently confirmed the eligibility. Disagreements were solved by consensus. We focused the final analysis on omics-based biomarkers which achieved the highest level of validation, that is, clinical approval of the developed molecular signature as a laboratory developed test or FDA approved tests. Results: Overall, 352 articles fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The analysis of validated biomarker signatures identified multiple common methodological and practical features that may explain the successful test development and guide future biomarker projects. These include study design choices to ensure sufficient statistical power for model building and external testing, suitable combinations of non-targeted and targeted measurement technologies, the integration of prior biological knowledge, strict filtering and inclusion/exclusion criteria, and the adequacy of statistical and machine learning methods for discovery and validation. Conclusions: While most clinically validated biomarker models derived from omics data have been developed for personalised oncology, first applications for non-cancer diseases show the potential of multivariate omics biomarker design for other complex disorders. Distinctive characteristics of prior success stories, such as early filtering and robust discovery approaches, continuous improvements in assay design and experimental measurement technology, and rigorous multicohort validation approaches, enable the derivation of specific recommendations for future studies. [less ▲]

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See detailCrowdsourcing digital health measures to predict Parkinson's disease severity: the Parkinson's Disease Digital Biomarker DREAM Challenge
Sieberts, S.; Schaff, J.; Duda, M. et al

in npj Digital Medicine (2021), 4(53),

Consumer wearables and sensors are a rich source of data about patients’ daily disease and symptom burden, particularly in the case of movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease (PD). However ... [more ▼]

Consumer wearables and sensors are a rich source of data about patients’ daily disease and symptom burden, particularly in the case of movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease (PD). However, interpreting these complex data into so-called digital biomarkers requires complicated analytical approaches, and validating these biomarkers requires sufficient data and unbiased evaluation methods. Here we describe the use of crowdsourcing to specifically evaluate and benchmark features derived from accelerometer and gyroscope data in two different datasets to predict the presence of PD and severity of three PD symptoms: tremor, dyskinesia and bradykinesia. Forty teams from around the world submitted features, and achieved drastically improved predictive performance for PD status (best AUROC=0.87), as well as tremor- (best AUPR=0.75), dyskinesia- (best AUPR=0.48) and bradykinesia-severity (best AUPR=0.95). [less ▲]

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See detailAltered sphingolipid function in Alzheimer's disease; a gene regulatory network approach
Giovagnoni, Caterina; Ali, Muhammad; Eijssen, Lars M. T. et al

in Neurobiology of Aging (2021), in press(in press),

Sphingolipids (SLs) are bioactive lipids involved in various important physiological functions. The SL pathway has been shown to be affected in several brain-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s ... [more ▼]

Sphingolipids (SLs) are bioactive lipids involved in various important physiological functions. The SL pathway has been shown to be affected in several brain-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic dysregulation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of AD as well. Here, we use an integrative approach to better understand the relationship between epigenetic and transcriptomic processes in regulating SL function in the middle temporal gyrus of AD patients. Transcriptomic analysis of 252 SL-related genes, selected based on GO term annotations, from 46 AD patients and 32 healthy age-matched controls, revealed 103 differentially expressed SL-related genes in AD patients. Additionally, methylomic analysis of the same subjects revealed parallel hydroxymethylation changes in PTGIS, GBA, and ITGB2 in AD. Subsequent gene regulatory network-based analysis identified three candidate genes, i.e. SELPLG, SPHK1 and CAV1 whose alteration holds the potential to revert the gene expression program from a diseased towards a healthy state. Together, this epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights the importance of SL-related genes in AD, and may provide novel biomarkers and therapeutic alternatives to traditionally investigated biological pathways in AD. [less ▲]

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See detailPredicting correlated outcomes from molecular data
Rauschenberger, Armin UL; Glaab, Enrico UL

in Bioinformatics (2021), 37(21), 38893895

Motivation: Multivariate (multi-target) regression has the potential to outperform univariate (single-target) regression at predicting correlated outcomes, which frequently occur in biomedical and ... [more ▼]

Motivation: Multivariate (multi-target) regression has the potential to outperform univariate (single-target) regression at predicting correlated outcomes, which frequently occur in biomedical and clinical research. Here we implement multivariate lasso and ridge regression using stacked generalisation. Results: Our flexible approach leads to predictive and interpretable models in high-dimensional settings, with a single estimate for each input-output effect. In the simulation, we compare the predictive performance of several state-of-the-art methods for multivariate regression. In the application, we use clinical and genomic data to predict multiple motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease patients. We conclude that stacked multivariate regression, with our adaptations, is a competitive method for predicting correlated outcomes. Availability and Implementation: The R package joinet is available on GitHub (https://github.com/rauschenberger/joinet) and CRAN (https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=joinet). [less ▲]

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See detailBiomedical and Clinical Research Data Management
Ganzinger, Matthias; Glaab, Enrico UL; Kerssemakers, Jules et al

in Wolkenhauer, Olaf (Ed.) Systems Medicine - Integrative, Qualitative and Computational Approaches (2021)

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See detailPredictive and interpretable models via the stacked elastic net
Rauschenberger, Armin UL; Glaab, Enrico UL; van de Wiel, Mark

in Bioinformatics (2021), 37(14), 20122016

Motivation: Machine learning in the biomedical sciences should ideally provide predictive and interpretable models. When predicting outcomes from clinical or molecular features, applied researchers often ... [more ▼]

Motivation: Machine learning in the biomedical sciences should ideally provide predictive and interpretable models. When predicting outcomes from clinical or molecular features, applied researchers often want to know which features have effects, whether these effects are positive or negative, and how strong these effects are. Regression analysis includes this information in the coefficients but typically renders less predictive models than more advanced machine learning techniques. Results: Here we propose an interpretable meta-learning approach for high-dimensional regression. The elastic net provides a compromise between estimating weak effects for many features and strong effects for some features. It has a mixing parameter to weight between ridge and lasso regularisation. Instead of selecting one weighting by tuning, we combine multiple weightings by stacking. We do this in a way that increases predictivity without sacrificing interpretability. Availability and Implementation: The R package starnet is available on GitHub: https://github.com/rauschenberger/starnet. [less ▲]

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See detailCOVID19 Disease Map, a computational knowledge repository of virus-host interaction mechanisms.
Ostaszewski, Marek UL; Niarakis, Anna; Mazein, Alexander UL et al

in Molecular systems biology (2021), 17(10), 10387

We need to effectively combine the knowledge from surging literature with complex datasets to propose mechanistic models of SARS-CoV-2 infection, improving data interpretation and predicting key targets ... [more ▼]

We need to effectively combine the knowledge from surging literature with complex datasets to propose mechanistic models of SARS-CoV-2 infection, improving data interpretation and predicting key targets of intervention. Here, we describe a large-scale community effort to build an open access, interoperable and computable repository of COVID-19 molecular mechanisms. The COVID-19 Disease Map (C19DMap) is a graphical, interactive representation of disease-relevant molecular mechanisms linking many knowledge sources. Notably, it is a computational resource for graph-based analyses and disease modelling. To this end, we established a framework of tools, platforms and guidelines necessary for a multifaceted community of biocurators, domain experts, bioinformaticians and computational biologists. The diagrams of the C19DMap, curated from the literature, are integrated with relevant interaction and text mining databases. We demonstrate the application of network analysis and modelling approaches by concrete examples to highlight new testable hypotheses. This framework helps to find signatures of SARS-CoV-2 predisposition, treatment response or prioritisation of drug candidates. Such an approach may help deal with new waves of COVID-19 or similar pandemics in the long-term perspective. [less ▲]

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See detailiPSC-Derived Microglia as a Model to Study Inflammation in Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease.
Badanjak, Katja UL; Mulica, Patrycja UL; Smajic, Semra UL et al

in Frontiers in cell and developmental biology (2021), 9

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease with unknown cause in the majority of patients, who are therefore considered "idiopathic" (IPD). PD predominantly affects dopaminergic neurons in ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease with unknown cause in the majority of patients, who are therefore considered "idiopathic" (IPD). PD predominantly affects dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), yet the pathology is not limited to this cell type. Advancing age is considered the main risk factor for the development of IPD and greatly influences the function of microglia, the immune cells of the brain. With increasing age, microglia become dysfunctional and release pro-inflammatory factors into the extracellular space, which promote neuronal cell death. Accordingly, neuroinflammation has also been described as a feature of PD. So far, studies exploring inflammatory pathways in IPD patient samples have primarily focused on blood-derived immune cells or brain sections, but rarely investigated patient microglia in vitro. Accordingly, we decided to explore the contribution of microglia to IPD in a comparative manner using, both, iPSC-derived cultures and postmortem tissue. Our meta-analysis of published RNAseq datasets indicated an upregulation of IL10 and IL1B in nigral tissue from IPD patients. We observed increased expression levels of these cytokines in microglia compared to neurons using our single-cell midbrain atlas. Moreover, IL10 and IL1B were upregulated in IPD compared to control microglia. Next, to validate these findings in vitro, we generated IPD patient microglia from iPSCs using an established differentiation protocol. IPD microglia were more readily primed as indicated by elevated IL1B and IL10 gene expression and higher mRNA and protein levels of NLRP3 after LPS treatment. In addition, IPD microglia had higher phagocytic capacity under basal conditions-a phenotype that was further exacerbated upon stimulation with LPS, suggesting an aberrant microglial function. Our results demonstrate the significance of microglia as the key player in the neuroinflammation process in IPD. While our study highlights the importance of microglia-mediated inflammatory signaling in IPD, further investigations will be needed to explore particular disease mechanisms in these cells. [less ▲]

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See detailThe benefits, costs and feasibility of a low incidence COVID-19 strategy
Czypionka, T.; Iftekhar, E.; Prainsack, B. et al

in The Lancet Regional Health - Europe (2021), 12(100193),

In the summer of 2021, European governments removed most NPIs after experiencing prolonged second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries failed to achieve immunization rates high enough ... [more ▼]

In the summer of 2021, European governments removed most NPIs after experiencing prolonged second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries failed to achieve immunization rates high enough to avoid resurgence of the virus. Public health strategies for autumn and winter 2021 have ranged from countries aiming at low incidence by re-introducing NPIs to accepting high incidence levels. However, such high incidence strategies almost certainly lead to the very consequences that they seek to avoid: restrictions that harm people and economies. At high incidence, the important pandemic containment measure ‘test-trace-isolate-support’ becomes inefficient. At that point, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its numerous harmful consequences can likely only be controlled through restrictions. We argue that all European countries need to pursue a low incidence strategy in a coordinated manner. Such an endeavour can only be successful if it is built on open communication and trust. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of DNA Methylomic signatures in induced pluripotent stem cells during neuronal differentiation
Imm, Jennifer; Pishva, Ehsan; Ali, Muhammad et al

in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology (2021)

In development, differentiation from a pluripotent state results in global epigenetic changes, although the extent to which this occurs in induced pluripotent stem cell based neuronal models has not been ... [more ▼]

In development, differentiation from a pluripotent state results in global epigenetic changes, although the extent to which this occurs in induced pluripotent stem cell based neuronal models has not been extensively characterized. In the present study, induced pluripotent stem cell colonies (33Qn1 line) were differentiated and collected at four time-points, with DNA methylation assessed using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation EPIC BeadChip array. Dynamic changes in DNA methylation occurring during differentiation were investigated using a data-driven trajectory inference method. We identified a large number of Bonferroni-significant loci that showed progressive alterations in DNA methylation during neuronal differentiation. A gene-gene interaction network analysis identified 60 densely connected genes that were influential in the differentiation of neurons, with STAT3 being the gene with the highest connectivity. [less ▲]

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See detailScoping review on machine learning methods for stratification
Glaab, Enrico UL

Presentation (2020, December 02)

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See detailNon-Coding RNAs in the Brain-Heart Axis: The Case of Parkinson’s Disease
Acharya, Shubhra; Salgado-Somoza, Antonio; Stefanizzi, Francesca Maria et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020), 21(18), 6513

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder involving multiple genetic and environmental influences. Although a wide range of PD risk factors and clinical markers for the symptomatic ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder involving multiple genetic and environmental influences. Although a wide range of PD risk factors and clinical markers for the symptomatic motor stage of the disease have been identified, there are still no reliable biomarkers available for the early pre-motor phase of PD and for predicting disease progression. High-throughput RNA-based biomarker profiling and modeling may provide a means to exploit the joint information content from a multitude of markers to derive diagnostic and prognostic signatures. In the field of PD biomarker research, currently, no clinically validated RNA-based biomarker models are available, but previous studies reported several significantly disease-associated changes in RNA abundances and activities in multiple human tissues and body fluids. Here, we review the current knowledge of the regulation and function of non-coding RNAs in PD, focusing on microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs. Since there is growing evidence for functional interactions between the heart and the brain, we discuss the benefits of studying the role of non-coding RNAs in organ interactions when deciphering the complex regulatory networks involved in PD progression. We finally review important concepts of harmonization and curation of high throughput datasets, and we discuss the potential of systems biomedicine to derive and evaluate RNA biomarker signatures from high-throughput expression data. [less ▲]

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See detailA rare loss-of function variant of ADAM17 is associated with late-onset familial Alzheimer disease
Hartl, Daniela; May, Patrick UL; Gu, Wei UL et al

in Molecular Psychiatry (2020), 25(3), 629-639

Common variants of about 20 genes contributing to AD risk have so far been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, there is still a large proportion of heritability that might ... [more ▼]

Common variants of about 20 genes contributing to AD risk have so far been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, there is still a large proportion of heritability that might be explained by rare but functionally important variants. One of the so far identified genes with rare AD causing variants is ADAM10. Using whole-genome sequencing we now identified a single rare nonsynonymous variant (SNV) rs142946965 [p.R215I] in ADAM17 co-segregating with an autosomal-dominant pattern of late-onset AD in one family. Subsequent genotyping and analysis of available whole-exome sequencing data of additional case/control samples from Germany, the UK and the USA identified five variant carriers among AD patients only. The mutation inhibits pro-protein cleavage and the formation of the active enzyme, thus leading to loss-of-function of ADAM17 α-secretase. Further, we identified a strong negative correlation between ADAM17 and APP gene expression in human brain and present in vitro evidence that ADAM17 negatively controls the expression of APP. As a consequence, p.R215I mutation of ADAM17 leads to elevated Aß formation in vitro. Together our data supports a causative association of the identified ADAM17 variant in the pathogenesis of AD. [less ▲]

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See detailA new synuclein-transgenic mouse model for early Parkinson's reveals molecular features of preclinical disease
Hendrickx, Diana M.; Garcia, Pierre; Ashrafi, Amer et al

in Molecular Neurobiology (2020), 58

Understanding Parkinson’s disease (PD) in particular in its earliest phases, is important for diagnosis and treatment. However, human brain samples are collected post- mortem, reflecting mainly end stage ... [more ▼]

Understanding Parkinson’s disease (PD) in particular in its earliest phases, is important for diagnosis and treatment. However, human brain samples are collected post- mortem, reflecting mainly end stage disease. Because brain samples of mouse models can be collected at any stage of the disease process, they are useful to investigate PD progression. Here, we compare ventral midbrain transcriptomics profiles from α- synuclein transgenic mice with a progressive, early PD-like striatal neurodegeneration across different ages using pathway, gene set and network analysis methods. Our study uncovers statistically significant altered genes across ages and between genotypes with known, suspected, or unknown function in PD pathogenesis and key pathways associated with disease progression. Among those are genotype-dependent alterations associated with synaptic plasticity, neurotransmission, as well as mitochondria-related genes and dysregulation of lipid metabolism. Age-dependent changes were among others observed in neuronal and synaptic activity, calcium homeostasis, and membrane receptor signaling pathways, many of which linked to G- protein coupled receptors. Most importantly, most changes occurred before neurodegeneration was detected in this model, which points to a sequence of gene expression events that may be relevant for disease initiation and progression. It is tempting to speculate that molecular changes similar to those changes observed in our model happen in midbrain dopaminergic neurons before they start to degenerate. In other words, we believe we have uncovered molecular changes that accompany the progression from preclinical to early PD. [less ▲]

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