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Blood co-expression modules identify potential modifier genes of diabetes and lung function in cystic fibrosis

Abstract : Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare genetic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Lung disease is variable among CF patients and associated with the development of comorbidities and chronic infections. The rate of lung function deterioration depends not only on the type of mutations in CFTR, the disease-causing gene, but also on modifier genes. In the present study, we aimed to identify genes and pathways that (i) contribute to the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis and (ii) modulate the associated comorbidities. We profiled blood samples in CF patients and healthy controls and analyzed RNA-seq data with Weighted Gene Correlation Network Analysis (WGCNA). Interestingly, lung function, body mass index, the presence of diabetes, and chronic P. aeruginosa infections correlated with four modules of co-expressed genes. Detailed inspection of networks and hub genes pointed to cell adhesion, leukocyte trafficking and production of reactive oxygen species as central mechanisms in lung function decline and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Of note, we showed that blood is an informative surrogate tissue to study the contribution of inflammation to lung disease and diabetes in CF patients. Finally, we provided evidence that WGCNA is useful to analyze-omic datasets in rare genetic diseases as patient cohorts are inevitably small.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 6:29:51 PM
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Fanny Pineau, Davide Caimmi, Milena Magalhães, Enora Fremy, Abdillah Mohamed, et al.. Blood co-expression modules identify potential modifier genes of diabetes and lung function in cystic fibrosis. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, 15 (4), pp.e0231285. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0231285⟩. ⟨inserm-03015298⟩

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