Background: Patients with Varicose veins (VV) show no obvious symptoms in the early stages, and it is a common and frequent clinical condition. DNA methylation plays a key role in VV by regulating gene expression. However, the molecular mechanism underlying methylation regulation in VV remains unclear. Methods: The mRNA and methylation data of VV and normal samples were obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Methylation-Regulated Genes (MRGs) between VV and normal samples were crossed with VV-associated genes (VVGs) obtained by weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to obtain VV-associated MRGs (VV-MRGs). Their ability to predict disease was assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Biomarkers were then screened using a random forest model (RF), support vector machine model (SVM), and generalized linear model (GLM). Next, gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed to explore the functions of biomarkers. Furthermore, we also predicted their drug targets, and constructed a competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNA) network and a drug target network. Finally, we verified their mRNA expression using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Results: Total three VV-MRGs, namely Wnt1-inducible signaling pathway protein 2 (WISP2), Cysteine-rich intestinal protein 1 (CRIP1), and Odd-skipped related 1 (OSR1) were identified by VVGs and MRGs overlapping. The area under the curves (AUCs) of the ROC curves for these three VV-MRGs were greater than 0.8. RF was confirmed as the optimal diagnostic model, and WISP2, CRIP1, and OSR1 were regarded as biomarkers. GSEA showed that WISP2, CRIP1, and OSR1 were associated with oxidative phosphorylation, extracellular matrix (ECM), and respiratory system functions. Furthermore, we found that lncRNA MIR17HG can regulate OSR1 by binding to hsa-miR-21-5p and that PAX2 might treat VV by targeting OSR1. Finally, qRT-PCR results showed that the mRNA expression of the three genes was consistent with the results of the datasets. Conclusion: This study identified WISP2, CRIP1, and OSR1 as biomarkers of VV through comprehensive bioinformatics analysis, and preliminary explored the DNA methylation-related molecular mechanism in VV, which might be important for VV diagnosis and exploration of potential molecular mechanisms.
Keywords: DNA methylation; bioinformatics; biomarkers; machine learning; varicose veins.
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