Background: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as important regulators in
the modulation of virus infection by targeting mRNA transcription. However, their roles in chronic
hepatitis B (CHB) remain to be elucidated.
Objective: The study aimed to explore the lncRNAs and mRNA expression profiles in CHB and asymptomatic
HBsAg carriers (ASC) and construct mRNA-lncRNA co-expression profile and ceRNA
networks to identify the potential targets of diagnosis and treatment in CHB.
Methods: We determined the expression profiles of lncRNAs and mRNAs in CHB and ASC using
microarray analysis. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG)
pathway enrichment analyses were performed to explore their function. We also constructed coexpression,
cis-regulatory, and competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) networks with bioinformatics
Results: We identified 1634 mRNAs and 5550 lncRNAs that were differentially expressed between
CHB and ASC. Significantly enriched GO terms and pathways were identified, many of which were
linked to immune processes and inflammatory responses. Co-expression analysis showed 1196 relationships
between the top 20 up/downregulated lncRNAs and mRNA, especially 213 lncRNAs interacted
with ZFP57. The ZFP57-specific ceRNA network covered 3 lncRNAs, 5 miRNAs, and 17
edges. Cis-correlation analysis showed that lncRNA T039096 was paired with the most differentially
expressed gene, ZFP57. Moreover, by expending the clinical samples size, the qRT-PCR results
showed that the expression of ZFP57 and T039096 increased in CHB compared to ASC.
Conclusion: Our study provides insights into the roles of mRNA and lncRNA networks in CHB, highlighting
potential applications of lncRNA-T039096 and mRNA-ZFP57 for diagnosis and treatment.