Integrative transcriptomic analysis of SLE reveals IFN-driven cross-talk between immune cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B. PanwarFerhat Ay


The systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an incurable autoimmune disease disproportionately affecting women and may lead to damage in multiple different organs. The marked heterogeneity in its clinical manifestations is a major obstacle in finding targeted treatments and involvement of multiple immune cell types further increases this complexity. Thus, identifying molecular subtypes that best correlate with disease heterogeneity and severity as well as deducing molecular cross-talk among major immune cell types that lead to disease progression are critical steps in the development of more informed therapies for SLE. Here we profile and analyze gene expression of six major circulating immune cell types from patients with well-characterized SLE (classical monocytes (n=64), T cells (n=24), neutrophils (n=24), B cells (n=20), conventional (n=20) and plasmacytoid (n=22) dendritic cells) and from healthy control subjects. Our results show that the interferon (IFN) response signature was the major molecular feature that classified SLE patients into two distinct groups: IFN-signature negative (IFNneg) and positive (IFNpos). We show that the gene expression signature of IFN response was consistent (i) across all immune cell types, (ii)...Continue Reading

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