Weakly activated core inflammation pathways were identified as a central signaling mechanism contributing to the chronic neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease

Author(s): Li, F; Eteleeb, A; Buchser, W; Wang, G; Xiong, C; Payne, PR; McDade, E; Karch, CM; Harari, O; Cruchaga, C;
Year: 2021;  
Journal: bioRxiv: The Preprint Server for Biology;  

Neuro-inflammation signaling has been identified as an important hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in addition to amyloid β plaques (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). However, our knowledge of neuro-inflammation is very limited; and the core signaling pathways associated with neuro-inflammation are missing. From a novel perspective, i.e., investigating weakly activated molecular signals (rather than the strongly activated molecular signals), in this study, we uncovered the core neuro-inflammation signaling pathways in AD. Our novel hypothesis is that weakly activated neuro-inflammation signaling pathways can cause neuro-degeneration in a chronic process; whereas, strongly activated neuro-inflammation often cause acute disease progression like in COVID-19. Using the two large-scale genomics datasets, i.e., Mayo Clinic (77 control and 81 AD samples) and RosMap (97 control and 260 AD samples), our analysis identified 7 categories of signaling pathways implicated on AD and related to virus infection: immune response, x-core signaling, apoptosis, lipid dysfunctional, biosynthesis and metabolism, and mineral absorption signaling pathways. More interestingly, most of genes in the virus infection, immune response and x-core signaling pathways, are associated with inflammation molecular functions. Specifically, the x-core signaling pathways were defined as a group of 9 signaling proteins: MAPK, Rap1, NF-kappa B, HIF-1, PI3K-Akt, Wnt, TGF-beta, Hippo and TNF, which indicated the core neuro-inflammation signaling pathways responding to the low-level and weakly activated inflammation and hypoxia, and leading to the chronic neuro-degeneration. The core neuro-inflammation signaling pathways can be used as novel therapeutic targets for effective AD treatment and prevention.