Differentiated neurons established via iPSCs from patients that suffer from familial Parkinson's disease (PD) have allowed insights into the mechanisms of neurodegeneration. In the larger cohort of patients with sporadic PD, iPSC based information on disease specific cellular phenotypes is rare. We asked whether differences may be present on genomic and epigenomic levels and performed a comprehensive transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis of fibroblasts, iPSCs and differentiated neuronal cells of sporadic PD-patients and controls. We found that on mRNA level, although fibroblasts and iPSCs are largely indistinguishable, differentiated neuronal cells of sporadic PD patients show significant alterations enriched in pathways known to be involved in disease aetiology, like the CREB-pathway and the pathway regulating PGC1α. Moreover, miRNAs and piRNAs/piRNA-like molecules are largely differentially regulated in cells and post-mortem tissue samples between control- and PD-patients. The most striking differences can be found in piRNAs/piRNA-like molecules, with SINE- and LINE-derived piRNAs highly downregulated in a disease specific manner. We conclude that neuronal cells derived from sporadic PD-patients help to elucidate novel disease mechanisms and provide relevant insight into the epigenetic landscape of sporadic Parkinson's disease as particularly regulated by small RNAs.
Keywords: Induced pluripotent stem cells; LINE; Methylation; PD; SINE; iPSC.