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Title: Mining Regional Imaging Genetic Associations via Voxel-wise Enrichment Analysis
Brain imaging genetics aims to reveal genetic effects on brain phenotypes, where most studies examine phenotypes defined on anatomical or functional regions of interest (ROIs) given their biologically meaningful annotation and modest dimensionality compared with voxel-wise approaches. Typical ROI-level measures used in these studies are summary statistics from voxel-wise measures in the region, without making full use of individual voxel signals. In this paper, we propose a flexible and powerful framework for mining regional imaging genetic associations via voxel-wise enrichment analysis, which embraces the collective effect of weak voxel-level signals within an ROI. We demonstrate our method on an imaging genetic analysis using data from the Alzheimers Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, where we assess the collective regional genetic effects of voxel-wise FDG-PET measures between 116 ROIs and 19 AD candidate SNPs. Compared with traditional ROI-wise and voxel-wise approaches, our method identified 102 additional significant associations, some of which were further supported by evidences in brain tissue-specific expression analysis. This demonstrates the promise of the proposed method as a flexible and powerful framework for exploring imaging genetic effects on the brain.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1837964
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10127259
Journal Name:
2019 IEEE EMBS International Conference on Biomedical & Health Informatics (BHI)
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1 to 4
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract Motivation

    Brain imaging genetics aims to reveal genetic effects on brain phenotypes, where most studies examine phenotypes defined on anatomical or functional regions of interest (ROIs) given their biologically meaningful interpretation and modest dimensionality compared with voxelwise approaches. Typical ROI-level measures used in these studies are summary statistics from voxelwise measures in the region, without making full use of individual voxel signals.

    Results

    In this article, we propose a flexible and powerful framework for mining regional imaging genetic associations via voxelwise enrichment analysis, which embraces the collective effect of weak voxel-level signals and integrates brain anatomical annotation information. Our proposed method achieves three goals at the same time: (i) increase the statistical power by substantially reducing the burden of multiple comparison correction; (ii) employ brain annotation information to enable biologically meaningful interpretation and (iii) make full use of fine-grained voxelwise signals. We demonstrate our method on an imaging genetic analysis using data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, where we assess the collective regional genetic effects of voxelwise FDG-positron emission tomography measures between 116 ROIs and 565 373 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Compared with traditional ROI-wise and voxelwise approaches, our method identified 2946 novel imaging genetic associations in addition to 33 ones overlapping withmore »the two benchmark methods. In particular, two newly reported variants were further supported by transcriptome evidences from region-specific expression analysis. This demonstrates the promise of the proposed method as a flexible and powerful framework for exploring imaging genetic effects on the brain.

    Availability and implementation

    The R code and sample data are freely available at https://github.com/lshen/RIGEA.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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