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GPR37 expression as a prognostic marker in gliomas: a bioinformatics-based analysis

Published date

October 13, 2023


"Background: Gliomas are the most frequently diagnosed primary brain tumors, and are associated with multiple molecular aberrations during their development and progression. GPR37 is an orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that is implicated in different physiological pathways in the brain, and has been linked to various malignancies. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between GPR37 gene expression and the clinicopathological factors, patient prognosis, tumor-infiltrating immune cell signature GSEA and methylation levels in glioma.

Methods: We explored the diagnostic value, clinical relevance, and molecular function of GPR37 in glioma using TCGA, STRING, cBioPortal, Tumor Immunity Estimation Resource (TIMER) database and MethSurv databases. Besides, the "ssGSEA" algorithm was conducted to estimate immune cells infiltration abundance, with 'ggplot2' package visualizing the results. Immunohistochemical staining of clinical samples were used to verify the speculations of bioinformatics analysis.

Results: GPR37 expression was significantly higher in the glioma tissues compared to the normal brain tissues, and was linked to poor prognosis. Functional annotation of GPR37 showed enrichment of ether lipid metabolism, fat digestion and absorption, and histidine metabolism. In addition, GSEA showed that GPR37 was positively correlated to the positive regulation of macrophage derived foam cell differentiation, negative regulation of T cell receptor signaling pathway, neuroactive ligand receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway, and negatively associated with immunoglobulin complex, immunoglobulin complex circulating, ribosome and spliceosome mediated by circulating immunoglobulin etc. TIMER2.0 and ssGSEA showed that GPR37 expression was significantly associated with the infiltration of T cells, CD8 T cell, eosinophils, macrophages, neutrophils, NK CD56dim cells, NK cells, plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), T helper cells and T effector memory (Tem) cells. In addition, high GPR37 expression was positively correlated with increased infiltration of M2 macrophages, which in turn was associated with poor prognosis. Furthermore, GPR37 was positively correlated with various immune checkpoints (ICPs). Finally, hypomethylation of the GPR37 promoter was associated with its high expression levels and poor prognosis in glioma.

Conclusion: GPR37 had diagnostic and prognostic value in glioma. The possible biological mechanisms of GPR37 provide novel insights into the clinical diagnosis and treatment of glioma."

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