Exploring potential genes and mechanisms linking erectile dysfunction and depression.

The clinical correlation between erectile dysfunction (ED) and depression has been revealed in cumulative studies. However, the evidence of shared mechanisms between them was insufficient. This study aimed to explore common transcriptomic alterations associated with ED and depression.

The gene sets associated with ED and depression were collected from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Comparative analysis was conducted to obtain common genes. Using R software and other appropriate tools, we conducted a range of analyses, including function enrichment, interactive network creation, gene cluster analysis, and transcriptional and post-transcriptional signature profiling. Candidate hub crosslinks between ED and depression were selected after external validation and molecular experiments. Furthermore, subpopulation location and disease association of hub genes were explored.

A total of 85 common genes were identified between ED and depression. These genes strongly correlate with cell adhesion, redox homeostasis, reactive oxygen species metabolic process, and neuronal cell body. An interactive network consisting of 80 proteins and 216 interactions was thereby developed. Analysis of the proteomic signature of common genes highlighted eight major shared genes: CLDN5, COL7A1, LDHA, MAP2K2, RETSAT, SEMA3A, TAGLN, and TBC1D1. These genes were involved in blood vessel morphogenesis and muscle cell activity. A subsequent transcription factor (TF)-miRNA network showed 47 TFs and 88 miRNAs relevant to shared genes. Finally, CLDN5 and TBC1D1 were well-validated and identified as the hub crosslinks between ED and depression. These genes had specific subpopulation locations in the corpus cavernosum and brain tissue, respectively.

Our study is the first to investigate common transcriptomic alterations and the shared biological roles of ED and depression. The findings of this study provide insights into the referential molecular mechanisms underlying the co-existence between depression and ED.

Frontiers in endocrinology. 2023 Dec 04*** epublish ***

Penghui Yuan, Yinwei Chen, Taotao Sun, Lingang Cui, Yinsheng Wei, Teng Li, Qingjun Meng

Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China., Reproductive Medicine Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China., Department of Urology Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China.