Identification of Key Exosome Gene Signature in Mediating Coronary Heart Disease by Weighted Gene Correlation Network Analysis

Biomed Res Int. 2021 Oct 15;2021:3440498. doi: 10.1155/2021/3440498. eCollection 2021.


Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most prevalent disease with an unelucidated pathogenetic mechanism and is mediated by complex molecular interactions of exosomes. Here, we aimed to identify differentially expressed exosome genes for the disease development and prognosis of CHD.

Method: Six CHD samples and 32 normal samples were downloaded from the exoRbase database to identify the candidate genes in the CHD. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. And then, weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) was used to investigate the modules in coexpressed genes between CHD samples and normal samples. DEGs and the module of the WGCNA were intersected to obtain the most relevant exosome genes. After that, the function enrichment analyses and protein-protein interaction network (PPI) were performed for the particular module using STRING and Cytoscape software. Finally, the CIBERSORT algorithm was used to analyze the immune infiltration of exosome genes between CHD samples and normal samples.

Result: We obtain a total of 715 overlapping exosome genes located at the intersection of the DEGs and key modules. The Gene Ontology enrichment of DEGs in the blue module included inflammatory response, neutrophil degranulation, and activation of CHD. In addition, protein-protein networks were constructed, and hub genes were identified, such as LYZ, CAMP, HP, ORM1, and LTF. The immune infiltration profiles varied significantly between normal controls and CHD. Finally, we found that mast cells activated and eosinophils had a positive correlation. B cell memory had a significant negative correlation with B cell naive. Besides, neutrophils and mast cells were significantly increased in CHD patients.

Conclusion: The underlying mechanism may be related to neutrophil degranulation and the immune response. The hub genes and the difference in immune infiltration identified in the present study may provide new insights into the diagnostic and provide candidate targets for CHD.