Assessment of Mitochondrial DNA Damage in Cognitive Impairment via NGS: Health Disparities in Mexican Americans




Reid, Danielle
Barber, Robert C.
Sun, Jie
Thorpe, Roland
Zhou, Zhengyang
Phillips, Nicole


0000-0002-3316-9115 (Reid, Danielle)

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Mexican Americans (MAs) are the fastest growing subpopulation in the US, and as age increases, this population will be disproportionately affected by age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Diabetes, stroke, depression, and obesity are common risk factors for developing cognitive impairment (CI) and may be of particular relevance to MAs due to their increased prevalence. MtDNA damage has been implicated in AD, and since metabolic comorbidities are more common in MAs, mtDNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction may be related to the increased burden and earlier age-of-onset among MAs. Mitochondrial dysfunction can induce oxidative damage to guanosine (8oxoG) and cause DNA deletions, both of which have been well-documented in AD. The mitochondrial genome is particularly vulnerable to DNA damage, and age-associated decline in mitochondrial function results in accumulating reactive oxygen species capable of damaging essential biomolecules. We hypothesize that MAs incur mtDNA damage at an elevated rate due to increased comorbidity burden altering mitochondrial function. MtDNA from buffy coat and plasma samples of participants enrolled in the Texas Alzheimer's Research Care and Consortium were amplified using the RepliG mtDNA Amplification kit and were sequenced via NexteraXT on Illumina NextSeq. Somatic variants indicative of oxidative DNA damage and the commonly observed 5kb deletion were quantified in both the buffy coat mtDNA and ccf-mtDNA. These data were analyzed for association with CI and T2D in both the NHW and MA populations. Further, haplogroup-associated risk for mtDNA damage and ccf-mtDNA status was assessed. Our preliminary findings suggest clinical implications of oxidative mtDNA damage as a risk factor for CI specifically in MA females. These data highlight ethnic/racial differences in oxidative burden which may elucidate sex-specific mechanisms contributing to the manifestation of age-related disease etiology as AD, and the results may ultimately inform precision-based approaches to design therapeutics for mitigating AD disparities in the MA population.