Genome-wide expression of the residual lung reacting to experimental Pneumonectomy

BMC Genomics. 2021 Dec 6;22(1):881. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-08171-3.


Background: Acute or chronic irreversible respiratory failure may occur in patients undergoing pneumonectomy. Aim of this study was to determine transcriptome expression changes after experimental pneumonectomy in swine model. Experimental left pneumonectomy was performed in five pigs under general anaesthesia. Both the resected and the remaining lung, after 60 post-operative completely uneventful days, underwent genome-wide bulk RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq).

Results: Histological analysis showed dilation of air spaces and rupture of interalveolar septa. In addition, mild inflammation, no fibrosis, radial stretch of the bronchus, strong enlargement of airspaces and thinning of the blood supply were observed. Bioinformatic analyses of bulk RNA-Seq data identified 553 Differentially Expressed Genes (DEGs) at adjusted P-value below 0.001, between pre- and post-pneumonectomy. The top 10 up-regulated DEGs were Edn1, Areg, Havcr2, Gadd45g, Depp1, Cldn4, Atf3, Myc, Gadd45b, Socs3; the top 10 down-regulated DEGs were Obscn, Cdkn2b, ENSSSCG00000015738, Prrt2, Amer1, Flrt3, Efnb2, Tox3, Znf793, Znf365. Leveraging digital cytometry tools, no difference in cellular abundance was found between the two experimental groups, while the analysis of cell type-specific gene expression patterns highlighted a striking predominance of macrophage-specific genes among the DEGs. DAVID-based gene ontology analysis showed a significant enrichment of "Extrinsic apoptotic signaling pathway" (FDR q = 7.60 × 10- 3) and "Response to insulin" (FDR q = 7.60 × 10- 3) genes, along with an enrichment of genes involved as "Negative regulators of DDX58/IFIH1 signaling" (FDR q = 7.50 × 10- 4) found by querying the REACTOME pathway database. Gene network analyses indicated a general dysregulation of gene inter-connections.

Conclusion: This translational genomics study highlighted the existence both of individual genes, mostly dysregulated in certain cellular populations (e.g., macrophages), and gene-networks involved in pulmonary reaction after left pneumonectomy. Their involvement in lung homeostasis is largely supported by previous studies, carried out both in humans and in other animal models (under homeostatic or disease-related conditions), that adopted candidate-gene approaches. Overall, the present findings represent a preliminary assessment for future, more focused, studies on compensatory lung adaptation, pulmonary regeneration and functional reload.

Keywords: Differentially expressed genes; Experimental Pneumonectomy; Genome-wide expression; Lung; Pig; Pulmonary regeneration; RNA-Seq; Transcriptomics; Translational genomics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Swine