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Identification of PDGFA as a Neutrophil-related Biomarker Linked to the Advancement of Diabetic Retinopathy through Integrated Bioinformatics Analysis.

BACKGROUND: The dysregulation of the innate immune system plays a crucial role in the development of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). To gain an insight into the underlying mechanism of DR, it is essential to identify specific biomarkers associated with immune cell infiltration.

METHODS: In this study, we retrieved the GSE94019 and GSE60436 datasets from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. By utilizing CIBERSORT, MCPcounter, and xCell algorithms, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the immune cell infiltration landscape in DR. The limma package was employed to identify Differentially Expressed Necroptosis-related Genes (DENRGs). Subsequently, enrichment analysis was performed to investigate the potential functions of the DENRGs. To identify the core DENRGs, the CytoHubba plug-in in Cytoscape software was utilized. The expression levels of these core DENRGs were verified in an independent dataset.

RESULTS: Our analysis identified 213 DENRGs, and among them, Platelet-derived Growth Factor subunit A (PDGFA) was identified as a core DENRG. Notably, the expression of PDGFA was found to be upregulated in DR, and this finding was further validated in the GSE102485 dataset. Additionally, the results of GSVA and GSEA revealed that in the high PDGFA group, there was activation of pathways related to inflammation and the immune system. Moreover, analysis of immune infiltration demonstrated a significant association between PDGFA gene expression and the infiltration levels of specific immune cells, including basophils, macrophages M1, macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes, NK cells, and B cells.

CONCLUSION: The involvement of neutrophils in the development and progression of DR is suggested. PDGFA has emerged as a potential marker and is linked to the infiltration of immune cells in DR. These findings shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of DR.

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