BackgroundAlthough the pathology of sciatica has been studied extensively, the transcriptional changes in the peripheral blood caused by sciatica have not been characterized. This study aimed to characterize the peripheral blood transcriptomic signature for sciatica.MethodsWe used a microarray to identify differentially expressed genes in the peripheral blood of patients with sciatica compared with that of healthy controls, performed a functional analysis to reveal the peripheral blood transcriptomic signature for sciatica, and conducted a network analysis to identify key genes that contribute to the observed transcriptional changes. The expression levels of these key genes were assessed by qRT-PCR.ResultsWe found that 153 genes were differentially expressed in the peripheral blood of patients with sciatica compared with that of healthy controls, and 131 and 22 of these were upregulated and downregulated, respectively. A functional analysis revealed that these differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were strongly enriched for the inflammatory response or immunity. The network analysis revealed that a group of genes, most of which are related to the inflammatory response, played a key role in the dysregulation of these DEGs. These key genes are Toll-like receptor 4, matrix metallopeptidase 9, myeloperoxidase, cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, resistin and Toll-like receptor 5, and a qRT-PCR analysis validated the higher transcript levels of these key genes in the peripheral blood of patients with sciatica than in that of healthy controls.ConclusionWe revealed inflammatory characteristics that serve as a peripheral blood transcriptomic signature for sciatica and identified genes that are essential for mRNA dysregulation in the peripheral blood of patients with sciatica.