Age-associated changes in gene expression in human brain and isolated neurons.
ABSTRACT: Previous studies have suggested that there are genes whose expression levels are associated with chronological age. However, which genes show consistent age association across studies, and which are specific to a given organism or tissue remains unresolved. Here, we reassessed this question using 2 independently ascertained series of human brain samples from 2 anatomic regions, the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. Using microarrays to estimate gene expression, we found 60 associations between expression and chronological age that were statistically significant and were replicated in both series in at least 1 tissue. There were a greater number of significant associations in the frontal cortex compared with the cerebellum. We then repeated the analysis in a subset of samples using laser capture microdissection to isolate Purkinje neurons from the cerebellum. We were able to replicate 5 gene associations from either frontal cortex or cerebellum in the Purkinje cell dataset, suggesting that there is a subset of genes which have robust changes with aging. Of these, the most consistent and strongest association was with expression of RHBDL3, a rhomboid protease family member. We confirmed several hits using an independent technique (quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) and in an independent published sample series that used a different array platform. We also interrogated larger patterns of age-related gene expression using weighted gene correlation network analysis. We found several modules that showed significant associations with chronological age and, of these, several that showed negative associations were enriched for genes encoding components of mitochondria. Overall, our results show that there is a distinct and reproducible gene signature for aging in the human brain.
Project description:Methylation at CpG sites is a critical epigenetic modification in mammals. Altered DNA methylation has been suggested to be a central mechanism in development, some disease processes and cellular senescence. Quantifying the extent and identity of epigenetic changes in the aging process is therefore potentially important for understanding longevity and age-related diseases. In the current study, we have examined DNA methylation at >27,000 CpG sites throughout the human genome, in frontal cortex, temporal cortex, pons and cerebellum from 387 human donors between the ages of 1 and 102 years. We identify CpG loci that show a highly significant, consistent correlation between DNA methylation and chronological age. The majority of these loci are within CpG islands and there is a positive correlation between age and DNA methylation level. Lastly, we show that the CpG sites where the DNA methylation level is significantly associated with age are physically close to genes involved in DNA binding and regulation of transcription. This suggests that specific age-related DNA methylation changes may have quite a broad impact on gene expression in the human brain.
Project description:The main goal of the study was to measure the epigenetic age (also known as DNA methylation age) of human tissues and to relate it to chronological age. Toward this end, we used the epigenetic clock software described in Horvath S (n=2013) DNA methylation age of human tissues and cell types. Genome Biology.2013, 14:R115. DOI: 10.1186/10.1186/gb-2013-14-10-r115 PMID: 24138928 Human DNA methylation Beadchip v1.2 was used to obtain n=260 Illumina DNA methylation array from the following human Brain regions: caudate nucleus (n=n=12), cingulate gyrus (n=n12), cerebellum (n=32), frontal cortex (n=41), hippocampus (n=25), midBrain (n=18), motor cortex (n=33), occipital cortex (n=33), parietal lobe (n=23), sensory cortex (n=12), temporal cortex (n=29), visual cortex (n=11).
Project description:Autism susceptibility candidate 2 (Auts2) is a gene associated with autism and mental retardation, whose function is unknown. Expression of Auts2 mRNA and protein were studied in the developing mouse brain by in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and western blotting. Auts2 mRNA was highly expressed in the developing cerebral cortex and cerebellum, regions often affected by neuropathological changes in autism, and a few other brain regions. On embryonic day (E) 12, Auts2 mRNA was expressed in the cortical preplate, where it colocalized with Tbr1, a transcription factor specific for postmitotic projection neurons. From E16 to postnatal day 21, Auts2 was expressed most abundantly in frontal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum, including Purkinje cells and deep nuclei. High levels of Auts2 were also detected in developing dorsal thalamus, olfactory bulb, inferior colliculus and substantia nigra. Auts2 protein showed similar regional expression patterns as the mRNA. At the cellular level, Auts2 protein was localized in the nuclei of neurons and some neuronal progenitors.
Project description:3-Hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) is a cholesterol-regulating gene with statin relevance. rs3846662 being involved in regulation of HMGCR alternative splicing, we explored its impact on HMGCR messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels in the brain and the associations between those levels and levels of Alzheimer's disease pathological markers. We used brain samples derived from a cohort of 33 non-demented controls and 90 Alzheimer's disease autopsied-confirmed cases. HMGCR mRNA levels were determined in the frontal cortex (n?=?114) and cerebellum (n?=?110) using Taqman-qPCR, and HMGCR protein levels were determined in the frontal cortex (n?=?117) using a commercial enzyme immunoassay. While densities of neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques were determined in the frontal cortex (n?=?74), total tau, phosphorylated Tau, and beta-amyloid 1-42 levels were determined in the frontal cortex (n?=?94) and cerebellum (n?=?91) using commercial enzyme immunoassays. Despite an increase in full-length HMGCR mRNA ratio in the frontal cortex of women carrying the AA genotype, there were no associations between rs3846662 and HMGCR mRNA or protein levels. An increased ?13 HMGCR mRNA ratio was associated with increased levels of HMGCR proteins and neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal cortex but with reduced beta-amyloid 1-42 levels in the cerebellum, suggesting a brain cell type- or a disease progression-dependent association.
Project description:In the brain, D-amino acid oxidase (DAO/DAAO) mainly oxidizes D-serine, a co-agonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Thus, DAO can regulate the function of NMDA receptors via D-serine breakdown. Furthermore, DAO activator (DAOA)/G72 has been reported as both DAOA and repressor. The co-expression of DAO and DAOA genes and proteins in the human brain is not yet elucidated. The aim of this study was to understand the regional and age span distribution of DAO and DAOA (mRNA and protein) in a concomitant manner. We determined DAO and DAOA mRNA and protein expression across six brain regions in normal human post-mortem brain samples (16 weeks of gestation to 91 years) using quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We found higher expression of DAO mRNA in the cerebellum, whereas lower expression of DAO protein in the cerebellum compared to the other brain regions studied, which suggests post-transcriptional regulation. We detected DAOA protein but not DAOA mRNA in all brain regions studied, suggesting a tightly regulated expression. To understand this regulation at the transcriptional level, we analyzed DNA methylation levels at DAO and DAOA CpG sites in the cerebellum and frontal cortex of control human post-mortem brain obtained from Gene Expression Omnibus datasets. Indeed, DAO and DAOA CpG sites in the cerebellum were significantly more methylated than those in the frontal cortex. While investigating lifespan effects, we found that DAO mRNA levels were positively correlated with age <2 years in the cerebellum and amygdala. We also detected a significant positive correlation (controlled for age) between DAO and DAOA protein in all of the brain regions studied except for the frontal cortex. In summary, DAO and DAOA expression in the human brain are both age and brain region dependent.
Project description:Hypomyelination is a poorly understood feature of many neurodegenerative lysosomal storage diseases, including fucosidosis in children and animals. To gain insight into hypomyelination in fucosidosis, we investigated lysosomal storage, oligodendrocyte death, and axonal and neuron loss in CNS tissues of fucosidosis-affected dogs aged 3 weeks to 42 months using immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and gene expression assays. Vacuole accumulation in fucosidosis oligodendrocytes commenced by 5 weeks of age; all oligodendrocytes were affected by 16 weeks. Despite progressive vacuolation, mature oligodendrocyte loss by apoptosis (caspase-6 positive) in the corpus callosum and cerebellar white matter stabilized by 16 weeks, with no further subsequent loss. Axonal neurofilament loss progressed only in late disease, suggesting that disturbed axon-oligodendrocyte interactions are unlikely to be the primary cause of hypomyelination. A 67% decline in the number of Purkinje cell layer oligodendrocytes coincided with a 67% increase in the number of caspase-6-positive Purkinje cells at 16 weeks, suggesting that early oligodendrocyte loss contributes to Purkinje cell apoptosis. Fucosidosis hypomyelination appeared to follow normal spatiotemporal patterns of myelination, with greater loss of oligodendrocytes and larger downregulation of CNP, MAL, and PLP1 genes at 16 weeks in the cerebellum versus the frontal cortex. These studies suggest that survival of oligodendrocytes in fucosidosis is limited during active myelination, although the mechanisms remain unknown.
Project description:Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is a multitalented coregulator of an increasing number of transcription factors and cofactors involved in cell death and proliferation in several organs and systems. As Hipk2(-/-) mice show behavioral abnormalities consistent with cerebellar dysfunction, we investigated whether Hipk2 is involved in these neurological symptoms. To this aim, we characterized the postnatal developmental expression profile of Hipk2 in the brain cortex, hippocampus, striatum, and cerebellum of mice by real-time PCR, western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Notably, we found that whereas in the brain cortex, hippocampus, and striatum, HIPK2 expression progressively decreased with age, that is, from postnatal day 1 to adulthood, it increased in the cerebellum. Interestingly, mice lacking Hipk2 displayed atrophic lobules and a visibly smaller cerebellum than did wild-type mice. More important, the cerebellum of Hipk2(-/-) mice showed a strong reduction in cerebellar Purkinje neurons during adulthood. Such reduction is due to the activation of an apoptotic process associated with a compromised proteasomal function followed by an unpredicted accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins. In particular, Purkinje cell dysfunction was characterized by a strong accumulation of ubiquitinated ?-catenin. Moreover, our behavioral tests showed that Hipk2(-/-) mice displayed muscle and balance impairment, indicative of Hipk2 involvement in cerebellar function. Taken together, these results indicate that Hipk2 exerts a relevant role in the survival of cerebellar Purkinje cells and that Hipk2 genetic ablation generates cerebellar dysfunction compatible with an ataxic-like phenotype.
Project description:These data are derived from iterative data collection and analysis partly reported in three primary publications (Gibbs et al., 2010, PMID: 20485568, Hernandez et al. 2011, PMID: 21216877, Hernandez et al. 2012, PMID: 22433082). This study includes an assessment of common genetic variability across the genome, chip based gene expression analysis and array based methylation analysis, across a series of 150 subjects from whom we had cerebellum, frontal cortex, pons, and temporal cortex tissue (600 tissue samples). In each tissue we assessed 27,578 DNA methylation sites and the expression level of 22,184 genes. This work was further expanded to include assessment of 232 additional subjects and two tissues (cerebellum and frontal cortex) for whom we collected genotype, RNA expression and DNA methylation data, and exome sequencing data of > 300 subjects.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a small New World monkey, has been widely used as a biological model in neuroscience to elucidate neural circuits involved in cognition and to understand brain dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders. In this regard, the availability of gene expression data derived from next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies represents an opportunity for a molecular contextualization. Sexual dimorphism account for differences in diseases prevalence and prognosis. Here, we explore sex differences on frontal cortex of gene expression in common marmoset's adults. METHODS:Gene expression profiles in six different tissues (cerebellum, frontal cortex, liver, heart, and kidney) were analyzed in male and female marmosets. To emphasize the translational value of this species for behavioral studies, we focused on sex-biased gene expression from the frontal cortex of male and female in common marmosets and compared to humans (Homo sapiens). RESULTS:In this study, we found that frontal cortex genes whose expression is male-biased are conserved between marmosets and humans and enriched with "house-keeping" functions. On the other hand, female-biased genes are more related to neural plasticity functions involved in remodeling of synaptic circuits, stress cascades, and visual behavior. Additionally, we developed and made available an application-the CajaDB-to provide a friendly interface for genomic, expression, and alternative splicing data of marmosets together with a series of functionalities that allow the exploration of these data. CajaDB is available at cajadb.neuro.ufrn.br. CONCLUSION:The data point to differences in gene expression of male and female common marmosets in all tissues analyzed. In frontal cortex, female-biased expression in synaptic plasticity, stress, and visual processing might be linked to biological and behavioral mechanisms of this sex. Due to the limited sample size, the data here analyzed are for exploratory purposes.
Project description:A growing body of evidence suggests that a loss of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) expression, formation of dipeptide-repeat proteins, and generation of RNA foci contribute to disease pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. Although the levels of C9ORF72 transcripts and dipeptide-repeat proteins have already been examined thoroughly, much remains unknown about the role of RNA foci in C9ORF72-linked diseases. As such, we performed a comprehensive RNA foci study in an extensive pathological cohort of C9ORF72 expansion carriers (n = 63). We evaluated two brain regions using a newly developed computer-automated pipeline allowing recognition of cell nuclei and RNA foci (sense and antisense) supplemented by manual counting. In the frontal cortex, the percentage of cells with sense or antisense RNA foci was 26 or 12%, respectively. In the cerebellum, 23% of granule cells contained sense RNA foci and 1% antisense RNA foci. Interestingly, the highest percentage of cells with RNA foci was observed in cerebellar Purkinje cells (~70%). In general, more cells contained sense RNA foci than antisense RNA foci; however, when antisense RNA foci were present, they were usually more abundant. We also observed that an increase in the percentage of cells with antisense RNA foci was associated with a delayed age at onset in the frontal cortex (r = 0.43, p = 0.003), whereas no other associations with clinico-pathological features were seen. Importantly, our large-scale study is the first to provide conclusive evidence that RNA foci are not the determining factor of the clinico-pathological variability observed in C9ORF72 expansion carriers and it emphasizes that the distribution of RNA foci does not follow the pattern of neurodegeneration, stressing the complex interplay between different aspects of C9ORF72-related diseases.