DOI: 10.1101/458430Nov 4, 2018Paper

Multiscale causal network models of Alzheimer's disease identify VGF as a key regulator of disease

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Noam BeckmannEric E Schadt


Though discovered over 100 years ago, the molecular foundation of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains elusive. To elucidate its complex nature, we constructed multiscale causal network models on a large human AD multi-omics dataset, integrating clinical features of AD, DNA variation, and gene and protein expression into probabilistic causal models that enabled detection and prioritization of high-confidence key drivers of AD, including the top predicted key driver VGF. Overexpression of neuropeptide precursor VGF in 5xFAD mice partially rescued beta-amyloid-mediated memory impairment and neuropathology. Molecular validation of network predictions downstream of VGF was achieved, with significant enrichment for homologous genes identified as differentially expressed in 5xFAD brains overexpressing VGF versus controls. Our findings support a causal and/or protective role for VGF in AD pathogenesis and progression.

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