FEBS Open Bio. 2022 Aug 19. doi: 10.1002/2211-5463.13472. Online ahead of print.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) often leads to sensory and motor dysfunction. Two major factors that hinder spinal cord repair are local inflammation and glial scar formation after SCI, and thus appropriate immunotherapy may alleviate damage. To characterize changes in gene expression that occur during SCI and thereby identify putative targets for immunotherapy, here we analyzed the dataset GSE5296 (containing one control group and six SCI groups at different timepoints) to identify differentially-expressed genes. Functional enrichment analysis was performed and a protein-protein interaction network was created to identify possible hub genes. Finally, we performed quantitative PCR to verify changes in gene expression. The CIBERSORT algorithm was used to analyze innate immune cell infiltration patterns. The dataset GSE162610 (containing one control group and three SCI groups at different timepoints) was analyzed to evaluate innate immune cell infiltration at the single-cell level. The dataset GSE151371 (containing one control group [n = 10] and an SCI group [n = 38]) was used to detect the expression of hub genes in the blood from SCI patients. Differentially-expressed innate immune-related genes at each timepoint were identified, and the functions and related signaling pathways of these genes were examined. Six hub genes were identified and verified. We then analyzed the expression characteristics of these hub genes and characteristics of innate immune infiltration in SCI; finally, we examined ligand expression in the context of the CCL signaling pathway and COMPLEMENT signaling pathway networks. This study reveals the characteristics of innate immune cell infiltration and temporal expression patterns of hub genes, and may aid in the development of immunotherapies for SCI.