Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy (Mar 2023)

PBMCs gene expression signature of advanced cirrhosis with high risk for clinically significant portal hypertension in HIV/HCV coinfected patients: A cross-control study

  • Sergio Salgüero,
  • Óscar Brochado-Kith,
  • Ana Virseda Verdices,
  • Juan Berenguer,
  • Juan González-García,
  • Isidoro Martínez,
  • Cristina Díez,
  • Víctor Hontañón,
  • Leire Pérez-Latorre,
  • Amanda Fernández-Rodríguez,
  • María Ángeles Jiménez-Sousa,
  • Salvador Resino

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 159
p. 114220


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Background: Patients with advanced cirrhosis are at high risk of developing clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH). We analyzed the gene expression profile of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from HIV/HCV coinfected patients to identify a gene expression signature of advanced cirrhosis with high risk for CSPH. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on 68 patients. Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) was used to stratify patients into < 12.5 kPa (no cirrhosis, n = 19), 12.5 – 24.9 kPa (cirrhosis, n = 20), and ≥ 25 kPa (advanced cirrhosis with high risk for CSPH, n = 29). Besides, we further evaluated LSM < 25 kPa (n = 39) vs. ≥ 25 kPa (n = 29). Total RNA was extracted from PBMCs, and poly(A) RNA sequencing was performed. Two significant differentially expressed (SDE) transcripts were validated by quantitative PCR in a different cohort (n = 46). Results: We found 60 SDE transcripts between patients with LSM < 12.5 kPa and ≥ 25 kPa. Partial least squares discriminant analysis showed that those 60 SDE transcripts collectively discriminated LSM ≥ 25 kPa, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.84. Eight genes had an AUROC ≥ 0.75 for LSM ≥ 25 kPa: five were positively associated with LSM values (SCAMP1, ABHD17B, GPR146, GTF2A1, and TMEM64), while three were inversely associated (ZFHX2-AS1, MDK, and STAG3L2). We validated the two SDE transcripts with the highest discrimination capacity in a different cohort, finding significant differences between < 25 kPa and ≥ 25 kPa (MDK (p = 0.006) and STAG3L2 (p = 0.021)). Conclusions: A gene expression signature of 60 transcripts was associated with advanced cirrhosis with high risk for CSPH in HIV/HCV coinfected patients.