An Integrated Multi-Omic Network Analysis Identifies Seizure-Associated Dysregulated Pathways in the GAERS Model of Absence Epilepsy

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Absence epilepsy syndromes are part of the genetic generalized epilepsies, the pathogen-esis of which remains poorly understood, although a polygenic architecture is presumed. Current focus on single molecule or gene identification to elucidate epileptogenic drivers is unable to fully capture the complex dysfunctional interactions occurring at a genetic/proteomic/metabolomic level. Here, we employ a multi-omic, network-based approach to characterize the molecular signature associated with absence epilepsy-like phenotype seen in a well validated rat model of genetic generalized epilepsy with absence seizures. Electroencephalographic and behavioral data was collected from Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg (GAERS, n = 6) and non-epileptic controls (NEC, n = 6), followed by proteomic and metabolomic profiling of the cortical and thalamic tissue of rats from both groups. The general framework of weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA) was used to identify groups of highly correlated proteins and metabolites, which were then functionally annotated through joint pathway enrichment analysis. In both brain regions a large protein-metabolite module was found to be highly associated with the GAERS strain, absence seizures and associated anxiety and depressive-like phenotype. Quantitative pathway analysis in-dicated enrichment in oxidative pathways and a downregulation of the lysine degradation pathway in both brain regions. GSTM1 and ALDH2 were identified as central regulatory hubs of the seizure-associated module in the somatosensory cortex and thalamus, respectively. These enzymes are involved in lysine degradation and play important roles in maintaining oxidative balance. We con-clude that the dysregulated pathways identified in the seizure-associated module may be involved in the aetiology and maintenance of absence seizure activity. This dysregulated activity could po-tentially be modulated by targeting one or both central regulatory hubs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6063
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • absence epilepsy
  • ALDH2
  • GSTM1
  • lysine degradation
  • metabolomics
  • proteomics

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