Sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) exclusively affects elderly people. Using direct conversion of AD patient fibroblasts into induced neurons (iNs), we generated an age-equivalent neuronal model. AD patient-derived iNs exhibit strong neuronal transcriptome signatures characterized by downregulation of mature neuronal properties and upregulation of immature and progenitor-like signaling pathways. Mapping iNs to longitudinal neuronal differentiation trajectory data demonstrated that AD iNs reflect a hypo-mature neuronal identity characterized by markers of stress, cell cycle, and de-differentiation. Epigenetic landscape profiling revealed an underlying aberrant neuronal state that shares similarities with malignant transformation and age-dependent epigenetic erosion. To probe for the involvement of aging, we generated rejuvenated iPSC-derived neurons that showed no significant disease-related transcriptome signatures, a feature that is consistent with epigenetic clock and brain ontogenesis mapping, which indicate that fibroblast-derived iNs more closely reflect old adult brain stages. Our findings identify AD-related neuronal changes as age-dependent cellular programs that impair neuronal identity.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; aging; de-differentiation; induced neurons (iNs); neuronal cell cycle re-entry; rejuvenation.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.