Analysis of brain atrophy and local gene expression in genetic frontotemporal dementia

Andre Altmann, David M. Cash, Martina Bocchetta, Carolin Heller, Regina Reynolds, Katrina Moore, Rhian S. Convery, David L. Thomas, John C. Van Swieten, Fermin Moreno, Raquel Sanchez-Valle, Barbara Borroni, Robert Laforce, Mario Masellis, Maria Carmela Tartaglia, Caroline Graff, Daniela Galimberti, James B. Rowe, Elizabeth Finger, Matthis SynofzikRik Vandenberghe, Alexandre De Mendonça, Fabrizio Tagliavini, Isabel Santana, Simon Ducharme, Chris R. Butler, Alex Gerhard, Johannes Levin, Adrian Danek, Giovanni Frisoni, Roberta Ghidoni, Sandro Sorbi, Markus Otto, Mina Ryten, Jonathan D. Rohrer, Caroline Greaves, Georgia Peakman, Rachelle Shafei, Emily Todd, Martin N. Rossor, Jason D. Warren, Nick C. Fox, Henrik Zetterberg, Rita Guerreiro, Jose Bras, Jennifer Nicholas, Simon Mead, Lize Jiskoot, Lieke Meeter, Jessica Panman, Janne M. Papma, Rick Van Minkelen, Yolanda Pijnenburg, Myriam Barandiaran, Begoa Indakoetxea, Alazne Gabilondo, Mikel Tainta, Maria De Arriba, Ana Gorostidi, Miren Zulaica, Jorge Villanua, Zigor Diaz, Sergi Borrego-Ecija, Jaume Olives, Albert Lladó, Mircea Balasa, Anna Antonell, Nuria Bargallo, Enrico Premi, Maura Cosseddu, Stefano Gazzina, Alessandro Padovani, Roberto Gasparotti, Silvana Archetti, Sandra Black, Sara Mitchell, Ekaterina Rogaeva, Morris Freedman, Ron Keren, David Tang-Wai, Linn Öijerstedt, Christin Andersson, Vesna Jelic, Hakan Thonberg, Andrea Arighi, Chiara Fenoglio, Elio Scarpini, Giorgio Fumagalli, Thomas Cope, Carolyn Timberlake, Timothy Rittman, Christen Shoesmith, Robart Bartha, Rosa Rademakers, Carlo Wilke, Hans Otto Karnarth, Benjamin Bender, Rose Bruffaerts, Philip Van Damme, Mathieu Vandenbulcke, Catarina B. Ferreira, Gabriel Miltenberger, Carolina Maruta, Ana Verdelho, Sónia Afonso, Ricardo Taipa, Paola Caroppo, Giuseppe Di Fede, Giorgio Giaccone, Sara Prioni, Veronica Redaelli, Giacomina Rossi, Pietro Tiraboschi, Diana Duro, Maria Rosario Almeida, Miguel Castelo-Branco, Maria João Leitão, Miguel Tabuas-Pereira, Beatriz Santiago, Serge Gauthier, Pedro Rosa-Neto, Michele Veldsman, Paul Thompson, Tobias Langheinrich, Catharina Prix, Tobias Hoegen, Elisabeth Wlasich, Sandra Loosli, Sonja Schonecker, Elisa Semler, Sarah Anderl-Straub, Luisa Benussi, Giuliano Binetti, Michela Pievani, Gemma Lombardi, Benedetta Nacmias, Camilla Ferrari, Valentina Bessi, Cristina Polito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Frontotemporal dementia is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder characterized by neuronal loss in the frontal and temporal lobes. Despite progress in understanding which genes are associated with the aetiology of frontotemporal dementia, the biological basis of how mutations in these genes lead to cell loss in specific cortical regions remains unclear. In this work, we combined gene expression data for 16 772 genes from the Allen Institute for Brain Science atlas with brain maps of grey matter atrophy in symptomatic C9orf72, GRN and MAPT mutation carriers obtained from the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative study. No significant association was seen between C9orf72, GRN and MAPT expression and the atrophy patterns in the respective genetic groups. After adjusting for spatial autocorrelation, between 1000 and 5000 genes showed a negative or positive association with the atrophy pattern within each individual genetic group, with the most significantly associated genes being TREM2, SSBP3 and GPR158 (negative association in C9Orf72, GRN and MAPT respectively) and RELN, MXRA8 and LPA (positive association in C9Orf72, GRN and MAPT respectively). An overrepresentation analysis identified a negative association with genes involved in mitochondrial function, and a positive association with genes involved in vascular and glial cell function in each of the genetic groups. A set of 423 and 700 genes showed significant positive and negative association, respectively, with atrophy patterns in all three maps. The gene set with increased expression in spared cortical regions was enriched for neuronal and microglial genes, while the gene set with increased expression in atrophied regions was enriched for astrocyte and endothelial cell genes. Our analysis suggests that these cell types may play a more active role in the onset of neurodegeneration in frontotemporal dementia than previously assumed, and in the case of the positively associated cell marker genes, potentially through emergence of neurotoxic astrocytes and alteration in the blood-brain barrier, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfcaa122
JournalBrain Communications
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Astrocytes
  • Atrophy
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Gene expression
  • Imaging genetics

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