Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition associated with the onset of abnormal glucose tolerance during pregnancy. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), and genes can form lncRNA-mediated feedforward loops (lnc-FFLs), which are functional network motifs that regulate a wide range of biological processes and diseases. However, lnc-FFL network motifs have not been systematically investigated in GDM, and their role in the disease remains largely unknown. In the present study, a global lnc-FFL network was constructed and analyzed. Glycometabolism- and hormone-related lnc-FFL networks were extracted from the global network. An integrated algorithm was designed to identify dysregulated glycometabolism- and hormone-related lnc-FFLs in GDM. The patterns of dysregulated lnc-FFLs in GDM were complex. Moreover, there were strong associations between dysregulated glycometabolism- and hormone-related lnc-FFLs in GDM. Core modules were extracted from the dysregulated lnc-FFL networks in GDM and showed specific and essential functions. In addition, dysregulated lnc-FFLs could combine with ceRNAs and form more complex modules, which could play novel roles in GDM. Notably, we discovered that the dysregulated lnc-FFLs were enriched in the thyroid hormone signaling pathway. Some drug-repurposing candidates, such as hormonal drugs, could be identified based on lnc-FFLs in GDM. In summary, the present study highlighted the effect of dysregulated glycometabolism- and hormone-related lnc-FFLs in GDM and revealed their potential for the discovery of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for GDM.
Keywords: drug repurposing; gestational diabetes; glycometabolism; hormone; lncRNA-mediated feedforward loop; thyroid hormone.
Copyright © 2020 Fu, Cong, Zhao, Li, Liu, Sun and Lv.