Background: Progressive pulmonary fibrosis is a serious complication in subjects with sarcoidosis. The absence of reliable, non-invasive biomarkers that detect early progression exacerbates the difficulty in predicting sarcoidosis severity. To potentially address this unmet need, we evaluated a panel of markers for an association with sarcoidosis progression (HBEGF, NAMPT, IL1-RA, IL-6, IL-8, ANG-2). This panel encompasses proteins related to inflammation, vascular injury, cell proliferation, and fibroblast mitogenesis processes. Methods: Plasma biomarker levels and biomarker protein expression in lung and lymph nodes tissues (immunohistochemical studies) from sarcoidosis subjects with limited disease and progressive (complicated) sarcoidosis were performed. Gene expression of the protein-coding genes included in this panel was analyzed using RNAseq in sarcoidosis granulomatous tissues from lung and lymph nodes. Results: Except for IL-8, plasma levels of each biomarker—eNAMPT, IL-1RA, IL-6, ANG-2, and HBEGF—were significantly elevated in sarcoidosis subjects compared to controls. In addition, plasma levels of HBEGF were elevated in complicated sarcoidosis, while eNAMPT and ANG-2 were observed to serve as markers of lung fibrosis in a subgroup of complicated sarcoidosis. Genomic studies corroborated HBEGF and NAMPT among the top dysregulated genes and identified cytokine-related and fibrotic pathways in lung granulomatous tissues from sarcoidosis. Conclusion: These findings suggest HBEGF, eNAMPT, and ANG-2 may serve as potential novel indicators of the clinical severity of sarcoidosis disease.
- gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas