Published online Oct 21, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i39.5983
Peer-review started: June 10, 2020
First decision: August 22, 2020
Revised: August 30, 2020
Accepted: September 16, 2020
Article in press: September 16, 2020
Published online: October 21, 2020
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that is difficult to diagnose and treat. To date, the degree of inflammation in patients with UC has mainly been determined by measuring the levels of nonspecific indicators, such as C-reactive protein and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, but these indicators have an unsatisfactory specificity. In this study, we performed bioinformatics analysis using data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information-Gene Expression Omnibus (NCBI-GEO) databases and verified the selected core genes in a mouse model of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis.
To identify UC-related differentially expressed genes (DEGs) using a bioinformatics analysis and verify them in vivo and to identify novel biomarkers and the underlying mechanisms of UC.
Two microarray datasets from the NCBI-GEO database were used, and DEGs between patients with UC and healthy controls were analyzed using GEO2R and Venn diagrams. We annotated these genes based on their functions and signaling pathways, and then protein-protein interactions (PPIs) were identified using the Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes. The data were further analyzed with Cytoscape software and the Molecular Complex Detection (MCODE) app. The core genes were selected and a Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis was performed. Finally, colitis model mice were established by administering DSS, and the top three core genes were verified in colitis mice using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
One hundred and seventy-seven DEGs, 118 upregulated and 59 downregulated, were initially identified from the GEO2R analysis and predominantly participated in inflammation-related pathways. Seven clusters with close interactions in UC formed: Seventeen core genes were upregulated [C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 13 (CXCL13), C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2), CXCL9, CXCL5, C-C motif chemokine ligand 18, interleukin 1 beta, matrix metallopeptidase 9, CXCL3, formyl peptide receptor 1, complement component 3, CXCL8, CXCL1, CXCL10, CXCL2, CXCL6, CXCL11 and hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 3] and one was downregulated [neuropeptide Y receptor Y1 (NYP1R)] in the top cluster according to the PPI and MCODE analyses. These genes were substantially enriched in the cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction and chemokine signaling pathways. The top three core genes (CXCL13, NYP1R, and CXCR2) were selected and verified in a mouse model of colitis using real-time PCR Increased expression was observed compared with the control mice, but only CXCR2 expression was significantly different.
Core DEGs identified in UC are related to inflammation and immunity inflammation, indicating that these reactions are core features of the pathogenesis of UC. CXCR2 may reflect the degree of inflammation in patients with UC.
Core Tip: Two microarray datasets were used, and differentially expressed genes were analyzed. Seventeen core genes were upregulated, and one was downregulated. These genes were markedly enriched in the cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction and chemokine signaling pathways. The top three core genes [C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 13, neuropeptide Y receptor Y1, C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2)] were verified in a dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis model mice by real-time polymerase chain reaction and showed an increased expression, but only CXCR2 was statistically different. CXCR2 may represent a new biomarker to determine the degree of inflammation or a treatment target in ulcerative colitis.