Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a heterogeneous autoimmune disorder that results in skin fibrosis, autoantibody production, and internal organ dysfunction. We previously identified 4 “intrinsic” subsets of SSc based upon skin gene expression that are found across organ systems. Gene expression regulators that underlie the SSc-intrinsic subsets, or are associated with clinical covariates, have not been systematically characterized. Here, we present a computational framework to calculate the activity scores of gene expression regulators and identify their associations with SSc clinical outcomes. We found that regulator activity scores can reproduce the intrinsic molecular subsets, with distinct sets of regulators identified for inflammatory, fibroproliferative, limited, and normal-like samples. Regulators most highly correlated with modified Rodnan skin score (MRSS) also varied by intrinsic subset. We identified subgroups of patients with fibroproliferative and inflammatory SSc with more severe pathophenotypes, such as higher MRSS and increased likelihood of interstitial lung disease (ILD). Using an independent cohort, we show that the group with more severe ILD was more likely to show forced vital capacity decline over a period of 36–54 months. Our results demonstrate an association among the activation of regulators, gene expression subsets, and clinical variables that can identify patients with SSc with more severe disease.
Yue Wang, Jennifer M. Franks, Monica Yang, Diana M. Toledo, Tammara A. Wood, Monique Hinchcliff, Michael L. Whitfield
Usage data is cumulative from December 2022 through December 2023.
Usage information is collected from two different sources: this site (JCI) and Pubmed Central (PMC). JCI information (compiled daily) shows human readership based on methods we employ to screen out robotic usage. PMC information (aggregated monthly) is also similarly screened of robotic usage.
Various methods are used to distinguish robotic usage. For example, Google automatically scans articles to add to its search index and identifies itself as robotic; other services might not clearly identify themselves as robotic, or they are new or unknown as robotic. Because this activity can be misinterpreted as human readership, data may be re-processed periodically to reflect an improved understanding of robotic activity. Because of these factors, readers should consider usage information illustrative but subject to change.