Aims: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) remains among the most refractory heart diseases because of its complicated pathogenesis, and the key molecules that cause it remain unclear.
Main methods: To elucidate the molecules and upstream pathways critical for DCM pathogenesis, we performed meta-analysis and co-expression analysis of RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) datasets from publicly available databases. We analyzed three RNA-seq datasets containing comparisons of RNA expression in left ventricles between healthy controls and DCM patients. We extracted differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and clarified upstream regulators of cardiovascular disease-related DEGs by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis (WGCNA) and Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) analysis were also used to identify the hub gene candidates strongly associated with DCM.
Key findings: In total, 406 samples (184 healthy, 222 DCM) were used in this study. Overall, 391 DEGs [absolute fold change (FC) ≥ 1.5; P < 0.01], including 221 upregulated and 170 downregulated ones in DCM, were extracted. Seven common hub genes (LUM, COL1A2, CXCL10, FMOD, COL3A1, ADAMTS4, MRC1) were finally screened. IPA showed several upstream transcriptional regulators, including activating (NFKBIA, TP73, CALR, NFKB1, KLF4) and inhibiting (CEBPA, PPARGC1A) ones. We further validated increased expression of several common hub genes in the transverse aortic constriction-induced heart failure model.
Significance: In conclusion, meta-analysis and WGCNA using RNA-seq databases of DCM patients identified seven hub genes and seven upstream transcriptional regulators.
Keywords: Co-expression network; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Hub gene; RNA-seq; Transcriptional regulator; meta-analysis.
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