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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 543673, 16 pages
Research Article

Complex Network-Driven View of Genomic Mechanisms Underlying Parkinson’s Disease: Analyses in Dorsal Motor Vagal Nucleus, Locus Coeruleus, and Substantia Nigra

1Department of Pediatrics, Faculdade de Medicina da USP (FMUSP), Avenida Dr. Enéas Carvalho Aguiar 647, 5 Andar, 05403-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group (BEHEEC), LIM 22, FMUSP, 01246-903 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, 05652-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
4Division of Geriatrics, FMUSP, 01246-903 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
5Department of Pathology, FMUSP, 01246-903 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
6Department of Neurology and Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

Received 28 May 2014; Accepted 15 September 2014; Published 26 November 2014

Academic Editor: Meike Kasten

Copyright © 2014 Beatriz Raposo Corradini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parkinson’s disease (PD)—classically characterized by severe loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta—has a caudal-rostral progression, beginning in the dorsal motor vagal nucleus and, in a less extent, in the olfactory system, progressing to the midbrain and eventually to the basal forebrain and the neocortex. About 90% of the cases are idiopathic. To study the molecular mechanisms involved in idiopathic PD we conducted a comparative study of transcriptional interaction networks in the dorsal motor vagal nucleus (VA), locus coeruleus (LC), and substantia nigra (SN) of idiopathic PD in Braak stages 4-5 (PD) and disease-free controls (CT) using postmortem samples. Gene coexpression networks (GCNs) for each brain region (patients and controls) were obtained to identify highly connected relevant genes (hubs) and densely interconnected gene sets (modules). GCN analyses showed differences in topology and module composition between CT and PD networks for each anatomic region. In CT networks, VA, LC, and SN hub modules are predominantly associated with neuroprotection and homeostasis in the ageing brain, whereas in the patient’s group, for the three brain regions, hub modules are mostly related to stress response and neuron survival/degeneration mechanisms.