Quantifying mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) using candidate mechanism perturbation amplitude (CMPA) algorithm
Background Literature derived knowledge assemblies have been used as an effective way of representing biological phenomenon and understanding disease etiology in systems biology. These include canonical pathway databases such as KEGG, Reactome and WikiPathways and disease specific network inventories such as causal biological networks database, PD map and NeuroMMSig. The represented knowledge in these resources delineates qualitative information focusing mainly on the causal relationships between biological entities. Genes, the major constituents of knowledge representations, tend to express differentially in different conditions such as cell types, brain regions and disease stages. A classical approach of interpreting a knowledge assembly is to explore gene expression patterns of the individual genes. However, an approach that enables quantification of the overall impact of differentially expressed genes in the corresponding network is still lacking. Results Using the concept of heat diffusion, we have devised an algorithm that is able to calculate the magnitude of regulation of a biological network using expression datasets. We have demonstrated that molecular mechanisms specific to Alzheimer (AD) and Parkinson Disease (PD) regulate with different intensities across spatial and temporal resolutions. Our approach depicts that the mitochondrial dysfunction in PD is severe in cortex and advanced stages of PD patients. Similarly, we have shown that the intensity of aggregation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in AD increases as the disease progresses. This finding is in concordance with previous studies that explain the burden of NFTs in stages of AD. Conclusions This study is one of the first attempts that enable quantification of mechanisms represented as biological networks. We have been able to quantify the magnitude of regulation of a biological network and illustrate that the magnitudes are different across spatial and temporal resolution.