Enrichment analysis has been widely applied in the genome-wide association studies, where gene sets corresponding to biological pathways are examined for significant associations with a phenotype to help increase statistical power and improve biological interpretation. In this work, we expand the scope of enrichment analysis into brain imaging genetics, an emerging field that studies how genetic variation influences brain structure and function measured by neuroimaging quantitative traits (QT). Given the high dimensionality of both imaging and genetic data, we propose to study Imaging Genetic Enrichment Analysis (IGEA), a new enrichment analysis paradigm that jointly considers meaningful gene sets (GS) and brain circuits (BC) and examines whether any given GS–BC pair is enriched in a list of gene–QT findings. Using gene expression data from Allen Human Brain Atlas and imaging genetics data from Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative as test beds, we present an IGEA framework and conduct a proof-of-concept study. This empirical study identifies 25 significant high-level two-dimensional imaging genetics modules. Many of these modules are relevant to a variety of neurobiological pathways or neurodegenerative diseases, showing the promise of the proposal framework for providing insight into the mechanism of complex diseases.
- Enrichment analysis
- Genome-wide association study
- Imaging genetics
- Quantitative trait
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Cognitive Neuroscience