Bioinformatics methods in drug repurposing for Alzheimer's disease

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Alarming epidemiological features of Alzheimer's disease impose curative treatment rather than symptomatic relief. Drug repurposing, that is reappraisal of a substance's indications against other diseases, offers time, cost and efficiency benefits in drug development, especially when in silico techniques are used. In this study, we have used gene signatures, where up- and down-regulated gene lists summarize a cell's gene expression perturbation from a drug or disease. To cope with the inherent biological and computational noise, we used an integrative approach on five disease-related microarray data sets of hippocampal origin with three different methods of evaluating differential gene expression and four drug repurposing tools. We found a list of 27 potential anti-Alzheimer agents that were additionally processed with regard to molecular similarity, pathway/ontology enrichment and network analysis. Protein kinase C, histone deacetylase, glycogen synthase kinase 3 and arginase inhibitors appear consistently in the resultant drug list and may exert their pharmacologic action in an epidermal growth factor receptor-mediated subpathway of Alzheimer's disease.

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