The Caribbean-Hispanic Alzheimer’s disease brain transcriptome reveals ancestry-specific disease mechanisms

Author(s): Felsky, D; Santa-Maria, I; Cosacak, MI; French, L; Schneider, JA; Bennett, DA; De Jager, PL; Kizil, C; Tosto, G;
Year: 2023;  
Journal: Neurobiology of Disease;  
Volume: 176;  

Identifying ancestry-specific molecular profiles of late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (LOAD) in brain tissue is crucial to understand novel mechanisms and develop effective interventions in non-European, high-risk populations. We performed gene differential expression (DE) and consensus network-based analyses in RNA-sequencing data of postmortem brain tissue from 39 Caribbean Hispanics (CH). To identify ancestry-concordant and -discordant expression profiles, we compared our results to those from two independent non-Hispanic White (NHW) samples (n = 731). In CH, we identified 2802 significant DE genes, including several LOAD known-loci. DE effects were highly concordant across ethnicities, with 373 genes transcriptome-wide significant in all three cohorts. Cross-ancestry meta-analysis found NPNT to be the top DE gene. We replicated over 82% of meta-analyses genome-wide signals in single-nucleus RNA-seq data (including NPNT and LOAD known-genes SORL1, FBXL7, CLU, ABCA7). Increasing representation in genetic studies will allow for deeper understanding of ancestry-specific mechanisms and improving precision treatment options in understudied groups.