Identification of diagnostic markers related to oxidative stress and inflammatory response in diabetic kidney disease by machine learning algorithms: Evidence from human transcriptomic data and mouse experiments

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2023 Mar 7:14:1134325. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2023.1134325. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a long-term complication of diabetes and causes renal microvascular disease. It is also one of the main causes of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which has a complex pathophysiological process. Timely prevention and treatment are of great significance for delaying DKD. This study aimed to use bioinformatics analysis to find key diagnostic markers that could be possible therapeutic targets for DKD.

Methods: We downloaded DKD datasets from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Overexpression enrichment analysis (ORA) was used to explore the underlying biological processes in DKD. Algorithms such as WGCNA, LASSO, RF, and SVM_RFE were used to screen DKD diagnostic markers. The reliability and practicability of the the diagnostic model were evaluated by the calibration curve, ROC curve, and DCA curve. GSEA analysis and correlation analysis were used to explore the biological processes and significance of candidate markers. Finally, we constructed a mouse model of DKD and diabetes mellitus (DM), and we further verified the reliability of the markers through experiments such as PCR, immunohistochemistry, renal pathological staining, and ELISA.

Results: Biological processes, such as immune activation, T-cell activation, and cell adhesion were found to be enriched in DKD. Based on differentially expressed oxidative stress and inflammatory response-related genes (DEOIGs), we divided DKD patients into C1 and C2 subtypes. Four potential diagnostic markers for DKD, including tenascin C, peroxidasin, tissue inhibitor metalloproteinases 1, and tropomyosin (TNC, PXDN, TIMP1, and TPM1, respectively) were identified using multiple bioinformatics analyses. Further enrichment analysis found that four diagnostic markers were closely related to various immune cells and played an important role in the immune microenvironment of DKD. In addition, the results of the mouse experiment were consistent with the bioinformatics analysis, further confirming the reliability of the four markers.

Conclusion: In conclusion, we identified four reliable and potential diagnostic markers through a comprehensive and systematic bioinformatics analysis and experimental validation, which could serve as potential therapeutic targets for DKD. We performed a preliminary examination of the biological processes involved in DKD pathogenesis and provide a novel idea for DKD diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: bioinformatic analysis; biomarker; diabetic kidney disease; diagnostic model; immune.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies* / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Nephropathies* / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcriptome

Grants and funding

This work was supported by grants to Zhihua Zheng from National Natural Science Foundation of China (82170690) and Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee Foundation (JCYJ20180307150634856, JCYJ20210324123200003).