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Type 2 diabetes mellitus-associated transcriptome alterations in cortical neurones and associated neurovascular unit cells in the ageing brain

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Bury, Joanna J. 
Chambers, Annabelle 
Heath, Paul R. 
Ince, Paul G. 
Shaw, Pamela J. 


Abstract: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), characterised by peripheral insulin resistance, is a risk factor for dementia. In addition to its contribution to small and large vessel disease, T2D may directly damage cells of the brain neurovascular unit. In this study, we investigated the transcriptomic changes in cortical neurones, and associated astrocytes and endothelial cells of the neurovascular unit, in the ageing brain. Neurone, astrocyte, and endothelial cell-enriched mRNA, obtained by immuno-laser capture microdissection of temporal cortex (Brodmann area 21/22) from 6 cases with self-reported T2D in the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study neuropathology cohort, and an equal number of age and sex-matched controls, was assessed by microarray analysis. Integrated Molecular Pathway Level Analysis was performed using the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes database on significantly differentially expressed genes, defined as P < 0.05 and fold-change ± 1.2. Hub genes identified from Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis were validated in neurones using the NanoString nCounter platform. The expression and cellular localisation of proteins encoded by selected candidate genes were confirmed by immunohistochemistry. 912, 2202, and 1227 genes were significantly differentially expressed between cases with self-reported T2D and controls in neurones, astrocytes, and endothelial cells respectively. Changes in cortical neurones included alterations in insulin and other signalling pathways, cell cycle, cellular senescence, inflammatory mediators, and components of the mitochondrial respiratory electron transport chain. Impaired insulin signalling was shared by neurovascular unit cells with, additionally, apoptotic pathway changes in astrocytes and dysregulation of advanced glycation end-product signalling in endothelial cells. Transcriptomic analysis identified changes in key cellular pathways associated with T2D that may contribute to neuronal damage and dysfunction. These effects on brain cells potentially contribute to a diabetic dementia, and may provide novel approaches for therapeutic intervention.



Research, Ageing, Cortical neurone, Dementia, Differential expression, Neurovascular unit, Transcriptome, Type 2 diabetes mellitus

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Acta Neuropathologica Communications

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BioMed Central
Alzheimer's Society (AS-PG-15-015)