Inadequate DNA repair is implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the mechanisms that underlie inadequate DNA repair in COPD are poorly understood. We applied an integrative genomic approach to identify DNA repair genes and pathways associated with COPD severity.We measured the transcriptomic changes of 419 genes involved in DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance that occur with severe COPD in three independent cohorts (n=1129). Differentially expressed genes were confirmed with RNA sequencing and used for patient clustering. Clinical and genome-wide transcriptomic differences were assessed following cluster identification. We complemented this analysis by performing gene set enrichment analysis, Z-score and weighted gene correlation network analysis to identify transcriptomic patterns of DNA repair pathways associated with clinical measurements of COPD severity.We found 15 genes involved in DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance to be differentially expressed in severe COPD. K-means clustering of COPD cases based on this 15-gene signature identified three patient clusters with significant differences in clinical characteristics and global transcriptomic profiles. Increasing COPD severity was associated with downregulation of the nucleotide excision repair pathway.Systematic analysis of the lung tissue transcriptome of individuals with severe COPD identified DNA repair responses associated with disease severity that may underlie COPD pathogenesis.
Copyright ©ERS 2018.