IPSC-Derived Neuronal Cultures Carrying the Alzheimer's Disease Associated TREM2 R47H Variant Enables the Construction of an Aβ-Induced Gene Regulatory Network

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jun 25;21(12):4516. doi: 10.3390/ijms21124516.


Genes associated with immune response and inflammation have been identified as genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer´s disease (LOAD). The rare R47H variant within triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) has been shown to increase the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) 2-3-fold. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a model of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) using lymphoblast-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients carrying the TREM2 R47H mutation, as well as from control individuals without dementia. All iPSCs efficiently differentiated into mature neuronal cultures, however AD neuronal cultures showed a distinct gene expression profile. Furthermore, manipulation of the iPSC-derived neuronal cultures with an Aβ-S8C dimer highlighted metabolic pathways, phagosome and immune response as the most perturbed pathways in AD neuronal cultures. Through the construction of an Aβ-induced gene regulatory network, we were able to identify an Aβ signature linked to protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which emphasized ER-stress, as a potential causal role in LOAD. Overall, this study has shown that our AD-iPSC based model can be used for in-depth studies to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the etiology of LOAD and provides new opportunities for screening of potential therapeutic targets.

Keywords: AβS8C dimer; TREM2 R47H; iPSC-derived neuronal cultures; late onset Alzheimer’s disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Myeloid Cells / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • TREM2 protein, human