Among patients with diabetes, diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a major microvascular complication and the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease. Results of previous studies have suggested that immune-related genes and immune cell infiltration play a key role in the pathogenesis and development of DN.
Hanzhi Chen, PhD, and colleagues conducted a study to examine immune-related biomarkers in DN. Results were reported online in Frontiers in Genetics [doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2022.830437].
Three microarray datasets that included 18 DN and 28 healthy tubule samples were downloaded and integrated as the training set to identify differentially expressed immune-related genes (DEIGs).
A total of 63 DEIGs were identified, and most upregulated DEIGs were primarily involved in the inflammatory response and chemokine-mediated signaling pathways. The abundance of infiltrated immune and stromal cell populations was estimated using the Microenvironment Cell Populations-counter. According to DEIG, weighted gene co-expression network and protein-protein network analyses, CCL19 was identified as the hub immune-related biomarker. In addition, the upregulated level of CCL19 was confirmed in other independent datasets as well as in in vitro experiments with high glucose.
“In summary, this study provides novel insights into the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy and identifies CCL19 as a potential critical gene of DN,” the researchers said.