, Volume 192, Issue 1, pp 87-93
Date: 17 Nov 2013

Protein–Protein Interaction Network Analysis in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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The aim of this study was to investigate the gene expression profile of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and non-COPD patients.


Microarray raw data (GSE29133) was downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus, including three COPD samples and three normal controls. Gene expression profiling was performed using Affymetrix human genome u133 plus 2.0 GeneChip. Differentially expressed genes were identified by Student’s t test and genes with p < 0.05 were considered significantly changed. Up- and downregulated genes were submitted to the molecular signatures database (MSigDB) to search for a possible association with other previously published gene expression signatures. Furthermore, we constructed a COPD protein–protein interaction (PPI) network and used the connectivity map (cMap) to query for potential drugs for COPD.


A total of 680 upregulated genes and 530 downregulated genes in COPD were identified. The MSigDB investigation found that upregulated genes were highly similar to gene signatures that respond to interferon and downregulated genes were similar to erythroid progenitor cells from fetal livers of E13.5 embryos with KLF1 knocked out. A PPI network consisting of 814 gene/proteins and 2,613 interactions was identified by Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes. The cMap predicted helveticoside, disulfiram, and lanatoside C as the top three possible drugs that could perhaps treat COPD.


Comprehensive analysis of the gene expression profile for COPD versus control reveals helveticoside, disulfiram, and lanatoside C as potential molecular targets in COPD. This evidence provides a new breakthrough in the medical treatment of patients with COPD.