Gene correlation network analysis to identify regulatory factors in sciatic nerve injury

Liuxun Li, Xiaokang Du, Haiqian Ling, Yuhang Li, Xuemin Wu, Anmin Jin, Meiling Yang
2021 Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research  
Background Sciatic nerve injury (SNI), which frequently occurs under the traumatic hip and hip fracture dislocation, induces serious complications such as motor and sensory loss, muscle atrophy, or even disabling. The present work aimed to determine the regulating factors and gene network related to the SNI pathology. Methods Sciatic nerve injury dataset GSE18803 with 24 samples was divided into adult group and neonate group. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was carried out
more » ... o identify modules associated with SNI in the two groups. Moreover, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were determined from every group, separately. Subsequently, co-expression network and protein–protein interaction (PPI) network were overlapped to identify hub genes, while functional enrichment and Reactome analysis were used for a comprehensive analysis of potential pathways. GSE30165 was used as the test set for investigating the hub gene involvement within SNI. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed separately using difference between samples and gene expression level as phenotype label to further prove SNI-related signaling pathways. In addition, immune infiltration analysis was accomplished by CIBERSORT. Finally, Drug–Gene Interaction database (DGIdb) was employed for predicting the possible therapeutic agents. Results 14 SNI status modules and 97 DEGs were identified in adult group, while 15 modules and 21 DEGs in neonate group. A total of 12 hub genes was overlapping from co-expression and PPI network. After the results from both test and training sets were overlapped, we verified that the ten real hub genes showed remarkably up-regulation within SNI. According to functional enrichment of hub genes, the above genes participated in the immune effector process, inflammatory responses, the antigen processing and presentation, and the phagocytosis. GSEA also supported that gene sets with the highest significance were mostly related to the cytokine–cytokine receptor interaction. Analysis of hub genes possible related signaling pathways using gene expression level as phenotype label revealed an enrichment involved in Lysosome, Chemokine signaling pathway, and Neurotrophin signaling pathway. Immune infiltration analysis showed that Macrophages M2 and Regulatory T cells may participate in the development of SNI. At last, 25 drugs were screened from DGIdb to improve SNI treatment. Conclusions The gene expression network is determined in the present work based on the related regulating factors within SNI, which sheds more light on SNI pathology and offers the possible biomarkers and therapeutic targets in subsequent research.
doi:10.1186/s13018-021-02756-0 pmid:34663380 pmcid:PMC8522103 fatcat:5bsojwfnevgfvps7mqzxyodrue