Deconvolution of whole blood transcriptomics identifies changes in immune cell composition in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treated with mycophenolate mofetil.



Akthar, Mumina, Nair, Nisha, Carter, Lucy M, Vital, Edward M, Sutton, Emily, McHugh, Neil, British Isles Lupus Assessment Group Biologics Register (BILAG B, MASTERPLANS Consortium, Bruce, Ian N and Reynolds, John A ORCID: 0000-0002-8962-4404
(2023) Deconvolution of whole blood transcriptomics identifies changes in immune cell composition in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treated with mycophenolate mofetil. Arthritis research & therapy, 25 (1). 111-.

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Abstract

<h4>Background</h4>Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a clinically and biologically heterogeneous autoimmune disease. We explored whether the deconvolution of whole blood transcriptomic data could identify differences in predicted immune cell frequency between active SLE patients, and whether these differences are associated with clinical features and/or medication use.<h4>Methods</h4>Patients with active SLE (BILAG-2004 Index) enrolled in the BILAG-Biologics Registry (BILAG-BR), prior to change in therapy, were studied as part of the MASTERPLANS Stratified Medicine consortium. Whole blood RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) was conducted at enrolment into the registry. Data were deconvoluted using CIBERSORTx. Predicted immune cell frequencies were compared between active and inactive disease in the nine BILAG-2004 domains and according to immunosuppressant use (current and past).<h4>Results</h4>Predicted cell frequency varied between 109 patients. Patients currently, or previously, exposed to mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) had fewer inactivated macrophages (0.435% vs 1.391%, p = 0.001), naïve CD4 T cells (0.961% vs 2.251%, p = 0.002), and regulatory T cells (1.858% vs 3.574%, p = 0.007), as well as a higher proportion of memory activated CD4 T cells (1.826% vs 1.113%, p = 0.015), compared to patients never exposed to MMF. These differences remained statistically significant after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, disease duration, renal disease, and corticosteroid use. There were 2607 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in patients exposed to MMF with over-representation of pathways relating to eosinophil function and erythrocyte development and function. Within CD4 + T cells, there were fewer predicted DEGs related to MMF exposure. No significant differences were observed for the other conventional immunosuppressants nor between patients according disease activity in any of the nine organ domains.<h4>Conclusion</h4>MMF has a significant and persisting effect on the whole blood transcriptomic signature in patients with SLE. This highlights the need to adequately adjust for background medication use in future studies using whole blood transcriptomics.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: British Isles Lupus Assessment Group Biologics Register (BILAG BR) Consortium, MASTERPLANS Consortium, Humans, Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic, Autoimmune Diseases, Mycophenolic Acid, Immunosuppressive Agents, Gene Expression Profiling, Transcriptome
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2023 15:52
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2023 03:04
DOI: 10.1186/s13075-023-03089-5
Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-023-03089-5
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3173482