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Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2010;2010:838164. doi: 10.1155/2010/838164. Epub 2010 Jun 27.

Benefits of neuropsychiatric phenomics: example of the 5-lipoxygenase-leptin-Alzheimer connection.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Phenomics is a systematic study of phenotypes on a genomewide scale that is expected to unravel, as of yet, unsuspected functional roles of the genome. It remains to be determined how to optimally approach and analyze the available phenomics databases to spearhead innovation in neuropsychiatry. By serendipitously connecting two unrelated phenotypes of increased blood levels of the adipokine leptin, a molecule that regulates appetite, in 5-lipoxygenase- (5-LOX) deficient mice and patients with a lower risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD), we postulated a leptin-mediated basis for beneficial effects of ALOX5 (a gene encoding 5-LOX) gene-deficiency in AD. We suggest that it might be possible to avoid relying on serendipity and develop data-mining tools capable of extracting from phenomics databases indications for such novel hypotheses. Hence, we provide an example of using a free-access Arrowsmith two-node search interface to identify ALOX5 as unsuspected putative mechanisms for the previously described clinical association between increased plasma levels of leptin and a lower risk of incident dementia and AD.

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