Introduction: Olfactory impairment in older individuals is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Characterization of age versus neuropathology-associated changes in the brain olfactory pathway may elucidate processes underlying early AD pathogenesis. Here, we report age versus AD neuropathology-associated differential transcription in four brain regions in the olfactory pathway of 10 female African green monkeys (vervet, Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus), a well-described model of early AD-like neuropathology.
Methods: Transcriptional profiles were determined by microarray in the olfactory bulb (OB), piriform cortex (PC), temporal lobe white matter (WM), and inferior temporal cortex (ITC). Amyloid beta (Aβ) plaque load in parietal and temporal cortex was determined by immunohistochemistry, and concentrations of Aβ42, Aβ40, and norepinephrine in ITC were determined by enzyme-linked immuosorbent assay (ELISA). Transcriptional profiles were compared between middle-aged and old animals, and associations with AD-relevant neuropathological measures were determined.
Results: Transcriptional profiles varied by brain region and age group. Expression levels of TRO and RNU4-1 were significantly lower in all four regions in the older group. An additional 29 genes were differentially expressed by age in three of four regions. Analyses of a combined expression data set of all four regions identified 77 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) by age group. Among these DEGs, older subjects had elevated levels of CTSB , EBAG9, LAMTOR3, and MRPL17, and lower levels of COMMD10 and TYW1B. A subset of these DEGs was associated with neuropathology biomarkers. Notably, CTSB was positively correlated with Aβ plaque counts, Aβ42:Aβ40 ratios, and norepinephrine levels in all brain regions.
Discussion: These data demonstrate age differences in gene expression in olfaction-associated brain regions. Biological processes exhibiting age-related enrichment included the regulation of cell death, vascular function, mitochondrial function, and proteostasis. A subset of DEGs was specifically associated with AD phenotypes. These may represent promising targets for future mechanistic investigations and perhaps therapeutic intervention.
Negrey, Jacob D; Dobbins, Dorothy L; Howard, Timothy D; Borgmann-Winter, Karin E; Hahn, C G; Kalinin, Sergey; Feinstein, Douglas L; Craft, Suzanne; Shively, Carol A; and Register, Thomas C, "Transcriptional Profiles in Olfactory Pathway-Associated Brain Regions of African Green Monkeys: Associations With Age and Alzheimer’s Disease Neuropathology" (2022). Department of Neuroscience Faculty Papers. Paper 75.
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