Co-expression Network Analysis of Frontal Cortex during the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

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Mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its putative prodromal stage, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), involve the dysregulation of multiple candidate molecular pathways that drive selective cellular vulnerability in cognitive brain regions. However, the spatiotemporal overlap of markers for pathway dysregulation in different brain regions and cell types presents a challenge for pinpointing causal versus epiphenomenal changes characterizing disease progression. To approach this problem, we performed Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis and STRING interactome analysis of gene expression patterns quantified in frontal cortex samples (Brodmann area 10) from subjects who died with a clinical diagnosis of no cognitive impairment, aMCI, or mild/moderate AD. Frontal cortex was chosen due to the relatively protracted involvement of this region in AD, which might reveal pathways associated with disease onset. A co-expressed network correlating with clinical diagnosis was functionally associated with insulin signaling, with insulin (INS) being the most highly connected gene within the network. Co-expressed networks correlating with neuropathological diagnostic criteria (e.g., NIA-Reagan Likelihood of AD) were associated with platelet-endothelium-leucocyte cell adhesion pathways and hypoxia-oxidative stress. Dysregulation of these functional pathways may represent incipient alterations impacting disease progression and the clinical presentation of aMCI and AD.


amnestic mild cognitive impairment, cell cycle, endothelium, insulin signaling, oxidative stress

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Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)



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