Feature selection based on differentially correlated gene pairs reveals the mechanism of IFN-β therapy for multiple sclerosis

Tao Jin, Chi Wang, Suyan Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disabilities of the central nervous system. Immune-modulatory therapy with Interferon-β (IFN-β) is a commonly used first-line treatment to prevent MS patients from relapses. Nevertheless, a large proportion of MS patients on IFN-β therapy experience their first relapse within 2 years of treatment initiation. Feature selection, a machine learning strategy, is routinely used in the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology to determine which subset of genes is most relevant to an outcome of interest. The majority of feature selection methods focus on alterations in gene expression levels. In this study, we sought to determine which genes are most relevant to relapse of MS patients on IFN-β therapy. Rather than the usual focus on alterations in gene expression levels, we devised a feature selection method based on alterations in geneto- gene interactions. In this study, we applied the proposed method to a longitudinal microarray dataset and evaluated the IFN-β effect on MS patients to identify gene pairs with differentially correlated edges that are consistent over time in the responder group compared to the non-responder group. The resulting gene list had a good predictive ability on an independent validation set and explicit biological implications related to MS. To conclude, it is anticipated that the proposed method will gain widespread interest and application in personalized treatment research to facilitate prediction of which patients may respond to a specific regimen.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8812
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 Jin et al.


  • Differentially correlated edge
  • Feature selection
  • IFN-beta therapy
  • Longitudinal
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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