A single-cell map for the transcriptomic signatures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in end-stage renal disease

Ting Luo, Fengping Zheng, Kang Wang, Yong Xu, Huixuan Xu, Wenxi Shen, Chengxin Zhu, Xinzhou Zhang, Weiguo Sui, Donge Tang, Lianghong Yin, Yong Dai
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2019 December 28

BACKGROUND: Immune aberrations in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are characterized by systemic inflammation and immune deficiency. The mechanistic understanding of this phenomenon remains limited.

METHODS: We generated 12 981 and 9578 single-cell transcriptomes of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that were pooled from 10 healthy volunteers and 10 patients with ESRD by single-cell RNA sequencing. Unsupervised clustering and annotation analyses were performed to cluster and identify cell types. The analysis of hallmark pathway and regulon activity was performed in the main cell types.

RESULTS: We identified 14 leukocytic clusters that corresponded to six known PBMC types. The comparison of cells from ESRD patients and healthy individuals revealed multiple changes in biological processes. We noticed an ESRD-related increase in inflammation response, complement cascade and cellular metabolism, as well as a strong decrease in activity related to cell cycle progression in relevant cell types in ESRD. Furthermore, a list of cell type-specific candidate transcription factors (TFs) driving the ESRD-associated transcriptome changes was identified.

CONCLUSIONS: We generated a distinctive, high-resolution map of ESRD-derived PBMCs. These results revealed cell type-specific ESRD-associated pathways and TFs. Notably, the pooled sample analysis limits the generalization of our results. The generation of larger single-cell datasets will complement the current map and drive advances in therapies that manipulate immune cell function in ESRD.

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