Network Topology Dynamics of Circulating Biomarkers and Cognitive Performance in Older Cytomegalovirus-seropositive or -seronegative Men and Women
Cytokines are signaling molecules operating within complex cascade patterns and having exceptional modulatory functions. They impact various physiological processes such as neuroendocrine and metabolic interactions, neurotrophins metabolism, neuroplasticity, and may affect behavior and cognition. In our previous study, we found that sex and Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-serostatus may modulate levels of circulating pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, metabolic factors, immune cells, and cognitive
... ormance, as well as associations between them. Results: In the present study, we used a graph-theoretical approach to investigate the network topology dynamics of 22 circulating biomarkers and 11 measures of cognitive performance in 161 older participants recruited to undergo a six-months training intervention. For network construction, we applied coefficient of determination (R2) that was calculated for all possible pairs of variables (N = 33) in four groups (CMV- men and women; CMV+ men and women). Network topology has been evaluated by clustering coefficient (CC) and characteristic path length (CPL) as well as local (Elocal) and global (Eglobal) efficiency, showing the degree of network segregation (CC and Elocal) and integration (CPL and Eglobal). We found that networks under consideration showed small-world networks properties with more random characteristics. Mean CC, as well as local and global efficiency were highest and CPL shortest in CMV- males (having lowest inflammatory status and highest cognitive performance). CMV- and CMV+ females did not show any significant differences. Modularity analyses showed that the networks exhibit in all cases highly differentiated modular organization (with Q-value ranged between 0.397 and 0.453). Conclusions: In this work, we found that segregation and integration properties of the network were notably stronger in the group with balanced inflammatory status. We were also able to confirm our previous findings that CMV-infection and sex modulate multiple circulating biomarkers and cognitive performance and that balanced inflammatory and metabolic status in elderly contributes to better cognitive functioning. Thus, network analyses provide a useful strategy for visualization and quantitative description of multiple interactions between various circulating pro- and anti-inflammatory biomarkers, hormones, neurotrophic and metabolic factors, immune cells, and measures of cognitive performance and can be in general applied for analyzing interactions between different physiological systems.