Transcriptomic Fingerprint of Bacterial Infection in Lower Extremity Ulcers

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Clinicians and researchers utilize subjective classification systems based on clinical parameters to stratify lower extremity ulcer infections for treatment and research. This study compared clinical infection classifications (mild to severe) of lower extremity ulcers (n = 44) with transcriptomic profiles and direct measurement of bacterial RNA signatures by RNA-sequencing. Samples demonstrating similar transcriptomes were clustered and characterized by transcriptomic fingerprint. Clinical infection severity did not explain the major sources of variability among the samples and samples with the same clinical classification demonstrated high inter-sample variability. High proportions of bacterial RNA, however, resulted in a strong effect on transcription and increased expression of genes associated with immune response and inflammation. K-means clustering identified two clusters of samples, one of which contained all of the samples with high levels of bacterial RNA. A support vector classifier identified a fingerprint of 20 genes, including immune-associated genes such as CXCL8, GADD45B, and HILPDA, which accurately identified samples with signs of infection via cross-validation. This suggests that stratification of infection states based on a transcriptomic fingerprint may be a useful tool for studying host-bacterial interactions in these ulcers, as well as an objective classification method to identify the severity of infection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalA P M I S. Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)524-534
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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