Cardioembolic stroke (CE stroke, also known as cardiogenic cerebral embolism, CCE) has the highest recurrence rate and fatality rate among all subtypes of ischemic stroke, the pathogenesis of which was unclear. Autophagy plays an essential role in the development of CE stroke. We aim to identify the potential autophagy-related molecular markers of CE stroke and uncover the potential therapeutic targets through bioinformatics analysis.
The mRNA expression profile dataset GSE58294 was obtained from the GEO database. The potential autophagy-related differentially expressed (DE) genes of CE stroke were screened by R software. Protein–protein interactions (PPIs), correlation analysis, and gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis were applied to the autophagy-related DE genes. GSE66724, GSE41177, and GSE22255 were introduced for the verification of the autophagy-related DE genes in CE stroke, and the differences in values were re-calculated by Student’s t-test.
A total of 41 autophagy-related DE genes (37 upregulated genes and four downregulated genes) were identified between 23 cardioembolic stroke patients (≤3 h, prior to treatment) and 23 healthy controls. The KEGG and GO enrichment analysis of autophagy-related DE genes indicated several enriched terms related to autophagy, apoptosis, and ER stress. The PPI results demonstrated the interactions between these autophagy-related genes. Moreover, several hub genes, especially for CE stroke, were identified and re-calculated by Student’s t-test.
We identified 41 potential autophagy-related genes associated with CE stroke through bioinformatics analysis. SERPINA1, WDFY3, ERN1, RHEB, and BCL2L1 were identified as the most significant DE genes that may affect the development of CE stroke by regulating autophagy. CXCR4 was identified as a hub gene of all types of strokes. ARNT, MAPK1, ATG12, ATG16L2, ATG2B, and BECN1 were identified as particular hub genes for CE stroke. These results may provide insight into the role of autophagy in CE stroke and contribute to the discovery of potential therapeutic targets for CE stroke treatment.