Transcriptomics analysis of hypoxia-induced retinal pigment epithelium cell injury

Authors: Lu Cong,  Shi Pingling,  Yang Qixiang,  Song Hao,  Li Miao,  Zhang Beibei,  Song Zongming
DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.cn115989-20201127-00799
Published 2021-06-10
Cite asChin J Exp Ophthalmol, 2021, 39(6): 505-514.

Abstract

Objective

To analyze differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and the changes of signal pathways in human retinal pigment epithelium cells (ARPE-19) under hypoxic and normoxic conditions and to explore the biological mechanism of hypoxia-induced ARPE-19 cell damage via transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and bioinformatics technology.

Methods

The ARPE-19 cells were divided into the hypoxia treatment group and the normoxia control group treated with 1% and 21% O2 by volume for 8, 24, 48, 72 hours, respectively.The relative expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) mRNA were detected with real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR at different time points.RNA-seq and bioinformatics analysis were performed at 8 hours and 24 hours after hypoxia and normoxia treatment.DEGs were screened out under the conditions of |log2FC|≥1 and P≤0.05.Then the cluster heat map analysis, Gene Ontology (GO) functional enrichment analysis, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis and protein-protein interaction network analysis were also carried out.Real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR was employed at 24 hours after hypoxia to detect the relative mRNA expression of genes that might be related to hypoxia in DEGs.Cell viability kit was used to verify and compare the damage effect of hypoxia on ARPE-19 cells at different time points between the two groups.

Results

The relative mRNA expression levels of VEGF at 8, 24, 48 and 72 hours after hypoxia treatment and the relative HIF-1α mRNA expression levels at 8, 24 and 48 hours after hypoxia treatment were significantly higher than those of the normoxia control group (all at P<0.05). There were large differences in the mRNA expression levels at 8-hour and 24-hour treatment between the two groups.A total of 62 significant DEGs were screened between the hypoxia treatment group and the normoxia control group after 8-hour hypoxia treatment, among which 45 genes were significantly up-regulated and 17 genes were significantly down-regulated.A total of 255 significant DEGs were screened out between the hypoxia treatment group and the normoxia control group after 24-hour hypoxia treatment, among which 228 genes were significantly up-regulated and 27 genes were significantly down-regulated.The GO functional analysis of DEGs was mainly enriched in processes such as protein degradation, nucleotide biosynthesis, and material transport.KEGG pathway analysis was mainly enriched in PI3K-Akt, cGMP-PKG, and other signaling pathways closely related to metabolism, cell cycle, cell growth, and apoptosis.The core genes HPCA, MT3 and NOS3 were found by protein-protein interaction network analysis.Real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR test results showed that after 24-hour hypoxia treatment, the mRNA expression levels of hypoxia related genes DEPP1, NPPB, PDZK1, HILPDA, TCEA3, NDRG1 and RORC in ARPE-19 cells were significantly increased and the mRNA expression levels of TFRC and NQO1 were significantly decreased (all at P<0.05). The cell morphology was normal and the growth state was good without dead cells after 8-hour and 24-hour hypoxia treatment in ARPE-19 cells.There were dead cells after 48-hour hypoxia treatment, and the number of dead cells was increased at 72 hours after hypoxia treatment.

Conclusions

The PI3K-Akt and cGMP-PKG signaling pathways related to metabolism may be involved in hypoxia-induced injury of ARPE-19 cells.Core genes of HPCA, MT3 and NOS3 can be used as functional target genes and play key roles in hypoxia response of cells.

Key words:

Retinal pigment epithelium cell; Hypoxia; Differentially expressed genes; RNA sequencing

Contributor Information

Lu Cong

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

Shi Pingling

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

Yang Qixiang

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

Song Hao

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

Li Miao

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

Zhang Beibei

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

Song Zongming

Henan University People’s Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, Henan Eye Hospital, Henan Eye Institute, Zhengzhou 450003, China

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Updated: June 24, 2021 — 8:40 am