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Gene and miRNA expression profiles in PBMCs from patients with severe and mild emphysema and PiZZ alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency

Authors Esquinas C, Janciauskiene S, Gonzalo R, Mas de Xaxars G, Olejnicka B, Belmonte I, Barrecheguren M, Rodríguez E, Nuñez A, Rodríguez-Frías F, Miravitlles M

Received 3 July 2017

Accepted for publication 9 October 2017

Published 29 November 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3381—3390


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Cristina Esquinas,1,2 Sabina Janciauskiene,3 Ricardo Gonzalo,4 Gemma Mas de Xaxars,4 Beata Olejnicka,5 Irene Belmonte,6 Miriam Barrecheguren,1 Esther Rodriguez,1 Alexa Nuñez,1 Francisco Rodriguez-Frias,6 Marc Miravitlles1

1Pneumology Department, University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Barcelona, 2Public Health, Mental, Maternal and Child Health Nursing Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 3Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hannover Medical School, BREATH, German Center for Lung Research (DZL), Hannover, Germany; 4Statistics and Bioinformatics Unit (UEB), Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), Barcelona, Spain; 5Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; 6Biochemistry Department, University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain

Introduction: COPD has complex etiologies involving both genetic and environmental determinants. Among genetic determinants, the most recognized is a severe PiZZ (Glu342Lys) inherited alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). Nonetheless, AATD patients present a heterogeneous clinical evolution, which has not been completely explained by sociodemographic or clinical factors. Here we performed the gene expression profiling of blood cells collected from mild and severe COPD patients with PiZZ AATD. Our aim was to identify differences in messenger RNA (mRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) expressions that may be associated with disease severity.
Materials and methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 12 COPD patients with PiZZ AATD (6 with severe disease and 6 with mild disease) were used in this pilot, high-throughput microarray study. We compared the cellular expression levels of RNA and miRNA of the 2 groups, and performed functional and enrichment analyses using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and Gene-ontology (GO) terms. We also integrated the miRNA and the differentially expressed putative target mRNA. For data analyses, we used the R statistical language R Studio (version 3.2.5).
Results: The severe and mild COPD–AATD groups were similar in terms of age, gender, exacerbations, comorbidities, and use of augmentation therapy. In severe COPD–AATD patients, we found 205 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) (114 upregulated and 91 downregulated) and 28 miRNA (20 upregulated and 8 downregulated) compared to patients with mild COPD–AATD disease. Of these, hsa-miR-335-5p was downregulated and 12 target genes were involved in cytokine signaling, MAPK/mk2, JNK signaling cascades, and angiogenesis were much more highly expressed in severe compared with mild patients.
Conclusions: Despite the small sample size, we identified downregulated miRNA (hsa-miR-335) and the activation of pathways related to inflammation and angiogenesis on comparing patients with severe vs mild COPD–AATD. Nonetheless, our findings warrant further validation in large studies.

Keywords: alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, COPD, gene expression, miRNAs, integrative analysis

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