Cognitive dysfunction and mood changes are prevalent and especially taxing issues for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its cognate receptor Fn14 have been shown to play an important role in neurocognitive dysfunction in murine lupus. We profiled and compared gene expression in the cortices of MRL/+, MRL/ (that manifest lupus-like phenotype) and MRL/-Fn14 knockout (Fn14ko) adult female mice to determine the transcriptomic impact of TWEAK/Fn14 on cortical gene expression in lupus. We found that the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway strongly affects the expression level, variability and coordination of the genomic fabrics responsible for neurotransmission and chemokine signaling. Dysregulation of the Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT pathway in the MRL/ lupus strain compared with the MRL/+ control and Fn14ko mice was particularly prominent and, therefore, promising as a potential therapeutic target, although the complexity of the transcriptomic fabric highlights important considerations in in vivo experimental models.
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