The regulatory mechanisms underlying pulsatile secretion are complex, especially as it is partly controlled by other hormones and the combined action of multiple agents. Regulatory relations between hormones are not directly observable but may be deduced from time series measurements of plasma hormone concentrations. Variation in plasma hormone levels are the resultant of secretion and clearance from the circulation. A strategy is proposed to extract inhibition, activation, thresholds and circadian synchronicity from concentration data, using particular association methods. Time delayed associations between hormone concentrations and/or extracted secretion pulse profiles reveal the information on regulatory mechanisms. The above mentioned regulatory mechanisms are illustrated with simulated data. Additionally, data from a lean cohort of healthy control subjects is used to illustrate activation (ACTH and cortisol) and circadian synchronicity (ACTH and TSH) in real data. The simulation and the real data both consist of 145 equidistant samples per individual, matching a 24-hr time span with 10 minute intervals. The results of the simulation and the real data are in concordance.
Many metabolomics studies aim to find ‘biomarkers’: sets of molecules that are consistently elevated or decreased upon experimental manipulation. Biological effects, however, often manifest themselves along a continuum of individual differences between the biological replicates in the experiment. Such differences are overlooked or even diminished by methods in standard use for metabolomics, although they may contain a wealth of information on the experiment. Properly understanding individual differences is crucial for generating knowledge in fields like personalised medicine, evolution and ecology. We propose to use simultaneous component analysis with individual differences constraints (SCA-IND), a data analysis method from psychology that focuses on these differences. This method constructs axes along the natural biochemical differences between biological replicates, comparable to principal components. The model may shed light on changes in the individual differences between experimental groups, but also on whether these differences correspond to, e.g., responders and non-responders or to distinct chemotypes. Moreover, SCA-IND reveals the individuals that respond most to a manipulation and are best suited for further experimentation. The method is illustrated by the analysis of individual differences in the metabolic response of cabbage plants to herbivory. The model reveals individual differences in the response to shoot herbivory, where two ‘response chemotypes’ may be identified. In the response to root herbivory the model shows that individual plants differ strongly in response dynamics. Thereby SCA-IND provides a hitherto unavailable view on the chemical diversity of the induced plant response, that greatly increases understanding of the system.
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Individual difference; INDSCAL; Glucosinolate; Induced response; Herbivory; Chemometrics; Multivariate data analysis; PARAFAC; Simultaneous component analysis; Life Sciences; Developmental Biology; Cell Biology; Biochemistry, general; Biomedicine general; Molecular Medicine
Plant sterols (PS) are well known to reduce serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Lipidomics potentially provides detailed information on a wide range of individual serum lipid metabolites, which may further add to our understanding of the biological effects of PS. In this study, lipidomics analysis was applied to serum samples from a placebo-controlled, parallel human intervention study (n = 97) of 4-week consumption of two PS-enriched, yoghurt drinks differing in fat content (based on 0.1% vs. 1.5% dairy fat). A comprehensive data analysis strategy was developed and implemented to assess and compare effects of two different PS-treatments and placebo treatment. The combination of univariate and multivariate data analysis approaches allowed to show significant effects of PS intake on the serum lipidome, and helped to distinguish them from fat content and non-specific effects. The PS-enriched 0.1% dairy fat yoghurt drink had a stronger impact on the lipidome than the 1.5% dairy fat yoghurt drink, despite similar LDL-cholesterol lowering effects. The PS-enriched 0.1% dairy fat yoghurt drink reduced levels of several sphingomyelins which correlated well with the reduction in LDL-cholesterol and can be explained by co-localization of sphingomyelins and cholesterol on the surface of LDL lipoprotein. Statistically significant reductions in serum levels of two lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC(16:1), LPC(20:1)) and cholesteryl arachidonate may suggest reduced inflammation and atherogenic potential.
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Plant sterols; Lipidomics; Lipoproteins; LDL-cholesterol; Data analysis; Multilevel-PLS-DA; Linear mixed models
Partial Least Squares-Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) is a PLS regression method with a special binary ‘dummy’ y-variable and it is commonly used for classification purposes and biomarker selection in metabolomics studies. Several statistical approaches are currently in use to validate outcomes of PLS-DA analyses e.g. double cross validation procedures or permutation testing. However, there is a great inconsistency in the optimization and the assessment of performance of PLS-DA models due to many different diagnostic statistics currently employed in metabolomics data analyses. In this paper, properties of four diagnostic statistics of PLS-DA, namely the number of misclassifications (NMC), the Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic (AUROC), Q2 and Discriminant Q2 (DQ2) are discussed. All four diagnostic statistics are used in the optimization and the performance assessment of PLS-DA models of three different-size metabolomics data sets obtained with two different types of analytical platforms and with different levels of known differences between two groups: control and case groups. Statistical significance of obtained PLS-DA models was evaluated with permutation testing. PLS-DA models obtained with NMC and AUROC are more powerful in detecting very small differences between groups than models obtained with Q2 and Discriminant Q2 (DQ2). Reproducibility of obtained PLS-DA models outcomes, models complexity and permutation test distributions are also investigated to explain this phenomenon. DQ2 and Q2 (in contrary to NMC and AUROC) prefer PLS-DA models with lower complexity and require higher number of permutation tests and submodels to accurately estimate statistical significance of the model performance. NMC and AUROC seem more efficient and more reliable diagnostic statistics and should be recommended in two group discrimination metabolomic studies.
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PLS-DA; AUROC; DQ2; Q2; Misclassifications; Diagnostic statistics; Metabolomics; Life Sciences; Developmental Biology; Cell Biology; Biochemistry, general; Biomedicine general; Molecular Medicine
One of the first steps in analyzing high-dimensional functional genomics data is an exploratory analysis of such data. Cluster Analysis and Principal Component Analysis are then usually the method of choice. Despite their versatility they also have a severe drawback: they do not always generate simple and interpretable solutions. On the basis of the observation that functional genomics data often contain both informative and non-informative variation, we propose a method that finds sets of variables containing informative variation. This informative variation is subsequently expressed in easily interpretable simplivariate components.
We present a new implementation of the recently introduced simplivariate models. In this implementation, the informative variation is described by multiplicative models that can adequately represent the relations between functional genomics data. Both a simulated and two real-life metabolomics data sets show good performance of the method.
Not only the levels of individual metabolites, but also the relations between the levels of different metabolites may indicate (experimentally induced) changes in a biological system. Component analysis methods in current ‘standard’ use for metabolomics, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA), do not focus on changes in these relations. We therefore propose the concept of ‘Between Metabolite Relationships’ (BMRs): common changes in the covariance (or correlation) between all metabolites in an organism. Such structural changes may indicate metabolic change brought about by experimental manipulation but which are lost with standard data analysis methods. These BMRs can be analysed by the INdividual Differences SCALing (INDSCAL) method. First the BMR quantification is described and subsequently the INDSCAL method. Finally, two studies illustrate the power and the applicability of BMRs in metabolomics. The first study is about the induced plant response of cabbage to herbivory, of which BMRs are a considerable part. In the second study—a human nutritional intervention study of green tea extract—standard data analysis tools did not reveal any metabolic change, although the BMRs were considerably affected. The presented results show that BMRs can be easily implemented in a wide variety of metabolomic studies. They provide a new source of information to describe biological systems in a way that fits flawlessly into the next generation of systems biology questions, dealing with personalized responses.
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Correlations; Covariance; Relationships; Individual differences; Component models; Chemometrics; Inter-individual variation; Natural variation
High-throughput functional genomics technologies generate large amount of data with hundreds or thousands of measurements per sample. The number of sample is usually much smaller in the order of ten or hundred. This poses statistical challenges and calls for appropriate solutions for the analysis of this kind of data.
Principal component discriminant analysis (PCDA), an adaptation of classical linear discriminant analysis (LDA) for high-dimensional data, has been selected as an example of a base learner. The multiple versions of PCDA models from repeated double cross-validation were aggregated, and the final classification was performed by majority voting. The performance of this approach was evaluated by simulation, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics data sets.
The aggregating PCDA learner can improve the prediction performance, provide more stable result, and help to know the variability of the models. The disadvantage and limitations of aggregating were also discussed.
Many plant species show induced responses that protect them against exogenous attacks. These responses involve the production of many different bioactive compounds. Plant species belonging to the Brassicaceae family produce defensive glucosinolates, which may greatly influence their favorable nutritional properties for humans. Each responding compound may have its own dynamic profile and metabolic relationships with other compounds. The chemical background of the induced response is therefore highly complex and may therefore not reveal all the properties of the response in any single model.
This study therefore aims to describe the dynamics of the glucosinolate response, measured at three time points after induction in a feral Brassica, by a three-faceted approach, based on Principal Component Analysis. First the large-scale aspects of the response are described in a 'global model' and then each time-point in the experiment is individually described in 'local models' that focus on phenomena that occur at specific moments in time. Although each local model describes the variation among the plants at one time-point as well as possible, the response dynamics are lost. Therefore a novel method called the 'Crossfit' is described that links the local models of different time-points to each other.
Each element of the described analysis approach reveals different aspects of the response. The crossfit shows that smaller dynamic changes may occur in the response that are overlooked by global models, as illustrated by the analysis of a metabolic profiling dataset of the same samples.
Metabolomics data obtained from (human) nutritional intervention studies can have a rather complex structure that depends on the underlying experimental design. In this paper we discuss the complex structure in data caused by a cross-over designed experiment. In such a design, each subject in the study population acts as his or her own control and makes the data paired. For a single univariate response a paired t-test or repeated measures ANOVA can be used to test the differences between the paired observations. The same principle holds for multivariate data. In the current paper we compare a method that exploits the paired data structure in cross-over multivariate data (multilevel PLSDA) with a method that is often used by default but that ignores the paired structure (OPLSDA). The results from both methods have been evaluated in a small simulated example as well as in a genuine data set from a cross-over designed nutritional metabolomics study. It is shown that exploiting the paired data structure underlying the cross-over design considerably improves the power and the interpretability of the multivariate solution. Furthermore, the multilevel approach provides complementary information about (I) the diversity and abundance of the treatment effects within the different (subsets of) subjects across the study population, and (II) the intrinsic differences between these study subjects.
Paired data; Multilevel analysis; PLSDA; OPLSDA; Metabolomics
In contemporary biology, complex biological processes are increasingly studied by collecting and analyzing measurements of the same entities that are collected with different analytical platforms. Such data comprise a number of data blocks that are coupled via a common mode. The goal of collecting this type of data is to discover biological mechanisms that underlie the behavior of the variables in the different data blocks. The simultaneous component analysis (SCA) family of data analysis methods is suited for this task. However, a SCA may be hampered by the data blocks being subjected to different amounts of measurement error, or noise. To unveil the true mechanisms underlying the data, it could be fruitful to take noise heterogeneity into consideration in the data analysis. Maximum likelihood based SCA (MxLSCA-P) was developed for this purpose. In a previous simulation study it outperformed normal SCA-P. This previous study, however, did not mimic in many respects typical functional genomics data sets, such as, data blocks coupled via the experimental mode, more variables than experimental units, and medium to high correlations between variables. Here, we present a new simulation study in which the usefulness of MxLSCA-P compared to ordinary SCA-P is evaluated within a typical functional genomics setting. Subsequently, the performance of the two methods is evaluated by analysis of a real life Escherichia coli metabolomics data set.
In the simulation study, MxLSCA-P outperforms SCA-P in terms of recovery of the true underlying scores of the common mode and of the true values underlying the data entries. MxLSCA-P further performed especially better when the simulated data blocks were subject to different noise levels. In the analysis of an E. coli metabolomics data set, MxLSCA-P provided a slightly better and more consistent interpretation.
MxLSCA-P is a promising addition to the SCA family. The analysis of coupled functional genomics data blocks could benefit from its ability to take different noise levels per data block into consideration and improve the recovery of the true patterns underlying the data. Moreover, the maximum likelihood based approach underlying MxLSCA-P could be extended to custom-made solutions to specific problems encountered.
Reverse engineering of high-throughput omics data to infer underlying biological networks is one of the challenges in systems biology. However, applications in the field of metabolomics are rather limited. We have focused on a systematic analysis of metabolic network inference from in silico metabolome data based on statistical similarity measures. Three different data types based on biological/environmental variability around steady state were analyzed to compare the relative information content of the data types for inferring the network. Comparing the inference power of different similarity scores indicated the clear superiority of conditioning or pruning based scores as they have the ability to eliminate indirect interactions. We also show that a mathematical measure based on the Fisher information matrix gives clues on the information quality of different data types to better represent the underlying metabolic network topology. Results on several datasets of increasing complexity consistently show that metabolic variations observed at steady state, the simplest experimental analysis, are already informative to reveal the connectivity of the underlying metabolic network with a low false-positive rate when proper similarity-score approaches are employed. For experimental situations this implies that a single organism under slightly varying conditions may already generate more than enough information to rightly infer networks. Detailed examination of the strengths of interactions of the underlying metabolic networks demonstrates that the edges that cannot be captured by similarity scores mainly belong to metabolites connected with weak interaction strength.
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Network inference; Interaction strength; Metabolome modeling; Indirect interactions; Biological/environmental variability; Similarity scores
Data integration is currently one of the main challenges in the biomedical sciences. Often different pieces of information are gathered on the same set of entities (e.g., tissues, culture samples, biomolecules) with the different pieces stemming, for example, from different measurement techniques. This implies that more and more data appear that consist of two or more data arrays that have a shared mode. An integrative analysis of such coupled data should be based on a simultaneous analysis of all data arrays. In this respect, the family of simultaneous component methods (e.g., SUM-PCA, unrestricted PCovR, MFA, STATIS, and SCA-P) is a natural choice. Yet, different simultaneous component methods may lead to quite different results.
We offer a structured overview of simultaneous component methods that frames them in a principal components setting such that both the common core of the methods and the specific elements with regard to which they differ are highlighted. An overview of principles is given that may guide the data analyst in choosing an appropriate simultaneous component method. Several theoretical and practical issues are illustrated with an empirical example on metabolomics data for Escherichia coli as obtained with different analytical chemical measurement methods.
Of the aspects in which the simultaneous component methods differ, pre-processing and weighting are consequential. Especially, the type of weighting of the different matrices is essential for simultaneous component analysis. These types are shown to be linked to different specifications of the idea of a fair integration of the different coupled arrays.
The prevalence of overweight is increasing globally and has become a serious health problem. Low-grade chronic inflammation in overweight subjects is thought to play an important role in disease development. Novel tools to understand these processes are needed. Metabolic profiling is one such tool that can provide novel insights into the impact of treatments on metabolism.
To study the metabolic changes induced by a mild anti-inflammatory drug intervention, plasma metabolic profiling was applied in overweight human volunteers with elevated levels of the inflammatory plasma marker C-reactive protein. Liquid and gas chromatography mass spectrometric methods were used to detect high and low abundant plasma metabolites both in fasted conditions and during an oral glucose tolerance test. This is based on the concept that the resilience of the system can be assessed after perturbing a homeostatic situation.
Metabolic changes were subtle and were only detected using metabolic profiling in combination with an oral glucose tolerance test. The repeated measurements during the oral glucose tolerance test increased statistical power, but the metabolic perturbation also revealed metabolites that respond differentially to the oral glucose tolerance test. Specifically, multiple metabolic intermediates of the glutathione synthesis pathway showed time-dependent suppression in response to the glucose challenge test. The fact that this is an insulin sensitive pathway suggests that inflammatory modulation may alter insulin signaling in overweight men.
One of the new expanding areas in functional genomics is metabolomics: measuring the metabolome of an organism. Data being generated in metabolomics studies are very diverse in nature depending on the design underlying the experiment. Traditionally, variation in measurements is conceptually broken down in systematic variation and noise where the latter contains, e.g. technical variation. There is increasing evidence that this distinction does not hold (or is too simple) for metabolomics data. A more useful distinction is in terms of informative and non-informative variation where informative relates to the problem being studied. In most common methods for analyzing metabolomics (or any other high-dimensional x-omics) data this distinction is ignored thereby severely hampering the results of the analysis. This leads to poorly interpretable models and may even obscure the relevant biological information. We developed a framework from first data analysis principles by explicitly formulating the problem of analyzing metabolomics data in terms of informative and non-informative parts. This framework allows for flexible interactions with the biologists involved in formulating prior knowledge of underlying structures. The basic idea is that the informative parts of the complex metabolomics data are approximated by simple components with a biological meaning, e.g. in terms of metabolic pathways or their regulation. Hence, we termed the framework ‘simplivariate models’ which constitutes a new way of looking at metabolomics data. The framework is given in its full generality and exemplified with two methods, IDR analysis and plaid modeling, that fit into the framework. Using this strategy of ‘divide and conquer’, we show that meaningful simplivariate models can be obtained using a real-life microbial metabolomics data set. For instance, one of the simple components contained all the measured intermediates of the Krebs cycle of E. coli. Moreover, these simplivariate models were able to uncover regulatory mechanisms present in the phenylalanine biosynthesis route of E. coli.
Innovative extensions of (M) ANOVA gain common ground for the analysis of designed metabolomics experiments. ASCA is such a multivariate analysis method; it has successfully estimated effects in megavariate metabolomics data from biological experiments. However, rigorous statistical validation of megavariate effects is still problematic because megavariate extensions of the classical F-test do not exist.
A permutation approach is used to validate megavariate effects observed with ASCA. By permuting the class labels of the underlying experimental design, a distribution of no-effect is calculated. If the observed effect is clearly different from this distribution the effect is deemed significant
The permutation approach is studied using simulated data which gave successful results. It was then used on real-life metabolomics data set dealing with bromobenzene-dosed rats. In this metabolomics experiment the dosage and time-interaction effect were validated, both effects are significant. Histological screening of the treated rats' liver agrees with this finding.
The suggested procedure gives approximate p-values for testing effects underlying metabolomics data sets. Therefore, performing model validation is possible using the proposed procedure.
Extracting relevant biological information from large data sets is a major challenge in functional genomics research. Different aspects of the data hamper their biological interpretation. For instance, 5000-fold differences in concentration for different metabolites are present in a metabolomics data set, while these differences are not proportional to the biological relevance of these metabolites. However, data analysis methods are not able to make this distinction. Data pretreatment methods can correct for aspects that hinder the biological interpretation of metabolomics data sets by emphasizing the biological information in the data set and thus improving their biological interpretability.
Different data pretreatment methods, i.e. centering, autoscaling, pareto scaling, range scaling, vast scaling, log transformation, and power transformation, were tested on a real-life metabolomics data set. They were found to greatly affect the outcome of the data analysis and thus the rank of the, from a biological point of view, most important metabolites. Furthermore, the stability of the rank, the influence of technical errors on data analysis, and the preference of data analysis methods for selecting highly abundant metabolites were affected by the data pretreatment method used prior to data analysis.
Different pretreatment methods emphasize different aspects of the data and each pretreatment method has its own merits and drawbacks. The choice for a pretreatment method depends on the biological question to be answered, the properties of the data set and the data analysis method selected. For the explorative analysis of the validation data set used in this study, autoscaling and range scaling performed better than the other pretreatment methods. That is, range scaling and autoscaling were able to remove the dependence of the rank of the metabolites on the average concentration and the magnitude of the fold changes and showed biologically sensible results after PCA (principal component analysis).
In conclusion, selecting a proper data pretreatment method is an essential step in the analysis of metabolomics data and greatly affects the metabolites that are identified to be the most important.
In systems biology it is common to obtain for the same set of biological entities information from multiple sources. Examples include expression data for the same set of orthologous genes screened in different organisms and data on the same set of culture samples obtained with different high-throughput techniques. A major challenge is to find the important biological processes underlying the data and to disentangle therein processes common to all data sources and processes distinctive for a specific source. Recently, two promising simultaneous data integration methods have been proposed to attain this goal, namely generalized singular value decomposition (GSVD) and simultaneous component analysis with rotation to common and distinctive components (DISCO-SCA).
Both theoretical analyses and applications to biologically relevant data show that: (1) straightforward applications of GSVD yield unsatisfactory results, (2) DISCO-SCA performs well, (3) provided proper pre-processing and algorithmic adaptations, GSVD reaches a performance level similar to that of DISCO-SCA, and (4) DISCO-SCA is directly generalizable to more than two data sources. The biological relevance of DISCO-SCA is illustrated with two applications. First, in a setting of comparative genomics, it is shown that DISCO-SCA recovers a common theme of cell cycle progression and a yeast-specific response to pheromones. The biological annotation was obtained by applying Gene Set Enrichment Analysis in an appropriate way. Second, in an application of DISCO-SCA to metabolomics data for Escherichia coli obtained with two different chemical analysis platforms, it is illustrated that the metabolites involved in some of the biological processes underlying the data are detected by one of the two platforms only; therefore, platforms for microbial metabolomics should be tailored to the biological question.
Both DISCO-SCA and properly applied GSVD are promising integrative methods for finding common and distinctive processes in multisource data. Open source code for both methods is provided.
Chronic systemic low-grade inflammation in obese subjects is associated with health complications including cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance and diabetes. Reducing inflammatory responses may reduce these risks. However, available markers of inflammatory status inadequately describe the complexity of metabolic responses to mild anti-inflammatory therapy.
To address this limitation, we used an integrative omics approach to characterize modulation of inflammation in overweight men during an intervention with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. Measured parameters included 80 plasma proteins, >300 plasma metabolites (lipids, free fatty acids, oxylipids and polar compounds) and an array of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) gene expression products. These measures were submitted to multivariate and correlation analysis and were used for construction of biological response networks.
A panel of genes, proteins and metabolites, including PGE2 and TNF-alpha, were identified that describe a diclofenac-response network (68 genes in PBMC, 1 plasma protein and 4 plasma metabolites). Novel candidate markers of inflammatory modulation included PBMC expression of annexin A1 and caspase 8, and the arachidonic acid metabolite 5,6-DHET.
In this study the integrated analysis of a wide range of parameters allowed the development of a network of markers responding to inflammatory modulation, thereby providing insight into the complex process of inflammation and ways to assess changes in inflammatory status associated with obesity.
The study is registered as NCT00221052 in clinicaltrials.gov database.
In the fields of life sciences, so-called designed studies are used for studying complex biological systems. The data derived from these studies comply with a study design aimed at generating relevant information while diminishing unwanted variation (noise). Knowledge about the study design can be used to decompose the total data into data blocks that are associated with specific effects. Subsequent statistical analysis can be improved by this decomposition if these are applied on selected combinations of effects.
The benefit of this approach was demonstrated with an analysis that combines multivariate PLS (Partial Least Squares) regression with data decomposition from ANOVA (Analysis of Variance): ANOVA-PLS. As a case, a nutritional intervention study is used on Apoliprotein E3-Leiden (APOE3Leiden) transgenic mice to study the relation between liver lipidomics and a plasma inflammation marker, Serum Amyloid A. The ANOVA-PLS performance was compared to PLS regression on the non-decomposed data with respect to the quality of the modelled relation, model reliability, and interpretability.
It was shown that ANOVA-PLS leads to a better statistical model that is more reliable and better interpretable compared to standard PLS analysis. From a following biological interpretation, more relevant metabolites were derived from the model. The concept of combining data composition with a subsequent statistical analysis, as in ANOVA-PLS, is however not limited to PLS regression in metabolomics but can be applied for many statistical methods and many different types of data.
With increasing dietary cholesterol intake the liver switches from a mainly resilient to a predominantly inflammatory state, which is associated with early lesion formation.
Increased dietary cholesterol intake is associated with atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis development requires a lipid and an inflammatory component. It is unclear where and how the inflammatory component develops. To assess the role of the liver in the evolution of inflammation, we treated ApoE*3Leiden mice with cholesterol-free (Con), low (LC; 0.25%) and high (HC; 1%) cholesterol diets, scored early atherosclerosis and profiled the (patho)physiological state of the liver using novel whole-genome and metabolome technologies.
Whereas the Con diet did not induce early atherosclerosis, the LC diet did so but only mildly, and the HC diet induced it very strongly. With increasing dietary cholesterol intake, the liver switches from a resilient, adaptive state to an inflammatory, pro-atherosclerotic state. The liver absorbs moderate cholesterol stress (LC) mainly by adjusting metabolic and transport processes. This hepatic resilience is predominantly controlled by SREBP-1/-2, SP-1, RXR and PPARα. A further increase of dietary cholesterol stress (HC) additionally induces pro-inflammatory gene expression, including pro-atherosclerotic candidate genes. These HC-evoked changes occur via specific pro-inflammatory pathways involving specific transcriptional master regulators, some of which are established, others newly identified. Notably, several of these regulators control both lipid metabolism and inflammation, and thereby link the two processes.
With increasing dietary cholesterol intake the liver switches from a mainly resilient (LC) to a predominantly inflammatory (HC) state, which is associated with early lesion formation. Newly developed, functional systems biology tools allowed the identification of novel regulatory pathways and transcriptional regulators controlling both lipid metabolism and inflammatory responses, thereby providing a rationale for an interrelationship between the two processes.