Genome-wide association studies have uncovered a thicket of risk variants for neurologic diseases, but in which cells are these disease genes doing their dirty work?
Merging GWAS with gene-expression signatures across the mouse nervous system, researchers led by Jens Hjerling-Leffler and Patrick Sullivan of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm predict the primary cell types driving genetic risk in multiple neurological disorders. In Alzheimer’s disease, unsurprisingly perhaps, microglia were the prime suspects. For Parkinson’s, dopaminergic neurons, gut neurons and, lo and behold, oligodendrocytes expressed a preponderance of risk genes. Published April 27 in Nature Genetics, the study could help researchers home in on precise cellular targets for each disease.