Liver cirrhosis (LC) is a kind of liver disease which is pathologically characterized by abnormality and necrosis of hepatic cells, proliferation of fibrous tissue, nodular regeneration and pseudolobule formation. To explore the mechanism of LC occurrence at the level of mRNA, Rat Genome 230 2.0 Array was used to detect gene expression profiles of rat fibrotic livers in 3, 6 and 9 weeks after CCl4 treatment in this study. It was found that a total of 305 genes including 153 up-regulated, 150 down-regulated and 2 up/down-regulated genes, were related to LC occurrence. Then, k-means clustering was employed to classify above 305 genes into 5 clusters based on gene expression similarity, and EASE analysis further indicated that the above genes were mainly associated with metabolic process, stress reaction, cell growth and apoptosis/death. Thereafter, ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) software was used to analyze potential effects of the above-mentioned 305 genes, and the results suggested that lipid metabolism and cell growth were inhibited while cell apoptosis/death was activated, but immune/inflammatory response was first activated and then inhibited. Furthermore, IPA also predicted that several signal pathways “ERK/MAPK Signaling”, “p38 MAPK”, “Endothelin-1 Signaling”, “Growth Hormone Signaling”, “LPS/IL-1-mediated inhibition of RXR function” and “IL-6 Signaling” were involved in regulating the occurrence of liver cirrhosis. It was concluded that 305 genes and 3 kinds of physiological activities were closely related to LC occurrence.
Key words: Liver cirrhosis, gene expression profile, systems biology analysis, physiological activity.
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