Single-cell transcriptomics analysis of mild cognitive impairment in world trade center disaster responders

Pei Fen Kuan, Sean Clouston, Xiaohua Yang, Chang Che, Samuel Gandy, Roman Kotov, Evelyn Bromet, Benjamin J. Luft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Recent research has found that World Trade Center (WTC) responders in their mid-50s have an elevated prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that is associated with neural degeneration and subcortical thinning. This article extends our understanding of the molecular complexity of MCI through gene expression profiling of blood. Methods: The transcriptomics of 40 male WTC responders were profiled across two cohorts (discovery: nine MCI and nine controls; replication: 11 MCI and 11 controls) using CITE-Seq at single-cell resolution in blood. Results: Comparing the transcriptomic signatures across seven major cell subpopula-tions, the largest differences were observed in monocytes in which 226 genes were differentially expressed. Pathway analysis on the genes unique to monocytes identified processes associated with cerebral immune response. Discussion: Our findings suggested monocytes may constitute a key cell type to target in blood-based biomarker studies for early detection of risk of MCI and development of new interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12154
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • CITE-Seq
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • World Trade Center


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