1. Emergency Medical Department, Minhang Hospital, Fudan University, 170 Xinsong Road, 201199, Shanghai, China.
2. Department of General Medicine, Minhang Hospital, Fudan University, 170 Xinsong Road, 201199, Shanghai, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
Objective: Gout is a dangerous metabolic condition related to monosodium urate (MSU). Our aim is to study the molecular mechanisms underlying gout and to identify potential clinical biomarkers by bioinformatics analysis and experimental validation.
Methods: In this study, we retrieved the overlapping genes between GSE199950-Differential Expressed Genes (DEGs) dataset and key module in Weighted Gene Co-Expression Network Analysis (WGCNA) on GSE199950. These genes were then analyzed by protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, expression and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis to identify the hub gene related to gout. Then, the gene was investigated by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), immunoassay and cell experiments like western blotting to uncover its underlying mechanism in gout cells.
Results: From the turquoise module and 83 DEGs, we identified 62 overlapping genes, only 11 genes had mutual interactions in PPI network and these genes were highly expressed in MSU-treated samples. Then, it was found that the IL1A (interleukin 1 alpha) was the only one gene related to Toll-like receptor signaling pathway that was associated with the occurrence of gout. Thus, IL1A was determined as the hub gene in this study. In immunoassay, IL1A was significantly positively correlated with B cells and negatively correlated with macrophages. Moreover, IL1A is highly expressed in gout patients,it has a good clinical diagnostic value. Finally, the results of in vitro experiments showed that after knocking down IL1A, the expressions of pro-inflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptor signaling pathway-related proteins (TLR2, TLR4, MyD88) were all reduced.
Conclusion: It is confirmed that IL1A is a promoting gene in gout with a good diagnostic value, and specifically it affects the inflammation in gout through Toll-like receptor pathway. Our research offers fresh perspectives on the pathophysiology of gout and valuable directions for future diagnosis and treatment.
Keywords: Gout, Monosodium urate, GSE199950, WGCNA, IL1A, Toll like receptor signaling pathway