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Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 15

Med Sci Monit



Comprehensive Analysis of Sphingolipid Metabolism-Related Genes in Osteoarthritic Diagnosis and Synovial Immune Dysregulation.


Zhu Z, Tu B, Fang R, Tong J, Liu Y, Ning R


BACKGROUND Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic degenerative disease characterized by synovitis and has been implicated in sphingolipid metabolism disorder. However, the role of sphingolipid metabolism pathway (SMP)-related genes in the occurrence of OA and synovial immune dysregulation remains unclear. MATERIAL AND METHODS In this study, we obtained synovium-related databases from GEO (n=40 for both healthy controls and OA) and analyzed the expression levels of SMP-related genes. Using 2 algorithms, we identified hub genes and developed a diagnostic model incorporating these hub genes to predict the occurrence of OA. Subsequently, the hub genes were further validated in peripheral blood samples from OA patients. Additionally, CIBERSORT and MCP-counter analyses were employed to explore the correlation between hub genes and immune dysregulation in OA synovium. WGCNA was used to determine enriched modules in different clusters. RESULTS Overall, the expression levels of SMP genes were upregulated in OA synovium. We identified 6 hub genes of SMP and constructed an excellent diagnostic model (AUC=0.976). The expression of re-confirmed hub genes showed associations with immune-related cell infiltration and levels of inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, we observed heterogeneity in the expression patterns of hub genes across different clusters of OA. Notably, older patients displayed increased susceptibility to elevated levels of pain-related inflammatory cytokines and infiltration of immune cells. CONCLUSIONS The SMP-related hub genes have the potential to serve as diagnostic markers for OA patients. Moreover, the 4 hub genes of SMP demonstrate wide participation in immune dysregulation in OA synovium. The activation of different pathways is observed among different populations of patients with OA.