Investigation of a Hypoxia-Immune-Related Microenvironment Gene Signature and Prediction Model for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Front Immunol. 2021 Jun 14;12:629854. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.629854. eCollection 2021.


Background: There is growing evidence found that the role of hypoxia and immune status in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). However, there are few studies about the role of hypoxia and immune status in the lung milieu in the prognosis of IPF. This study aimed to develop a hypoxia-immune-related prediction model for the prognosis of IPF.

Methods: Hypoxia and immune status were estimated with microarray data of a discovery cohort from the GEO database using UMAP and ESTIMATE algorithms respectively. The Cox regression model with the LASSO method was used for identifying prognostic genes and developing hypoxia-immune-related genes. Cibersort was used to evaluate the difference of 22 kinds of immune cell infiltration. Three independent validation cohorts from GEO database were used for external validation. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were collected to be tested by Quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR (qRT-PCR) and flow cytometry from 22 clinical samples, including 13 healthy controls, six patients with non-fibrotic pneumonia and three patients with pulmonary fibrosis.

Results: Hypoxia and immune status were significantly associated with the prognosis of IPF patients. High hypoxia and high immune status were identified as risk factors for overall survival. CD8+ T cell, activated CD4+ memory T cell, NK cell, activated mast cell, M1 and M0 macrophages were identified as key immune cells in hypoxia-immune-related microenvironment. A prediction model for IPF prognosis was established based on the hypoxia-immune-related one protective and nine risk DEGs. In the independent validation cohorts, the prognostic prediction model performed the significant applicability in peripheral whole blood, peripheral blood mononuclear cell, and lung tissue of IPF patients. The preliminary clinical specimen validation suggested the reliability of most conclusions.

Conclusions: The hypoxia-immune-based prediction model for the prognosis of IPF provides a new idea for prognosis and treatment.

Keywords: hypoxia; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; immune; microenvironment; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / genetics
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / immunology
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transcriptome