Background: Low Birth Weight (LBW) (birth weight <2.5 Kg) newborns are associated
with a high risk of infection, morbidity and mortality during their perinatal period. Compromised innate
immune responses and inefficient hematopoietic differentiation in term LBW newborns led us to
evaluate the gene expression status of hematopoiesis.
Materials and Methods: In this study, we compared our microarray datasets of LBW-Normal Birth
Weight (NBW) newborns with two reference datasets to identify hematopoietic stem cells genes, and
their differential expression in the LBW newborns, by hierarchical clustering algorithm using gplots
and RcolorBrewer package in R.
Results: Comparative analysis revealed 108 differentially expressed hematopoiesis genes (DEHGs),
of which 79 genes were up-regulated, and 29 genes were down-regulated in LBW newborns compared
to their NBW counterparts. Moreover, protein-protein interactions, functional annotation and pathway
analysis demonstrated that the up-regulated genes were mainly involved in cell proliferation and differentiation,
MAPK signaling and Rho GTPases signaling, and the down-regulated genes were engaged
in cell proliferation and regulation, immune system regulation, hematopoietic cell lineage and
JAK-STAT pathway. The binding of down-regulated genes (LYZ and GBP1) with growth factor GMCSF
using docking and MD simulation techniques, indicated that GM-CSF has the potential to alleviate
the repressed hematopoiesis in the term LBW newborns.
Conclusion: Our study revealed that DEHGs belonged to erythroid and myeloid-specific lineages and
may serve as potential targets for improving hematopoiesis in term LBW newborns to help build up
their weak immune defense against life-threatening infections.