Objective: The aim of this study was to identify and validate ferroptosis-related markers in ulcerative colitis (UC) to explore new directions for UC diagnosis and treatment.
Methods: We screened UC chips and ferroptosis-related genes from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), FerrDb, and GeneCards databases. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and ferroptosis-related DEGs between the UC group and normal controls were analyzed using bioinformatics methods. Enrichment analysis, protein-protein interaction analysis, and hub genes were screened. Peripheral blood chip and animal experiments were used to validate the ferroptosis-related hub genes. Finally, hub gene-transcription factor, hub gene-microRNA (miRNA), and hub gene-drug interaction networks were constructed.
Results: Overall, 26 ferroptosis-related DEGs were identified that were significantly enriched in energy pathways and metabolism. We identified ten ferroptosis-related hub genes from the protein-protein interaction network: IL6, PTGS2, HIF1A, CD44, MUC1, CAV1, NOS2, CXCL2, SCD, and ACSL4. In the peripheral blood chip GSE94648, CD44 and MUC1 were upregulated, which was consistent with the expression trend in GSE75214. Animal experiments showed that CD44 expression was significantly increased in the colon.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that CD44 and MUC1 may be ferroptosis-related markers in UC.
Keywords: Gene expression omnibus database; bioinformatics; biomarker; ferroptosis; hub genes; ulcerative colitis.