The relatively new technology of DNA microarrays offers the possibility to probe the human genome for clues to the pathogenesis and treatment of human disease. While early studies using this approach were largely in oncology, many new reports are emerging in other fields including infectious diseases and pharmacology, and applications in autoimmunity have been recently reported by our group and others. Some of these investigations have examined animal models of autoimmune disease, but a number of human studies have also been carried out. Of special interest are those that have used peripheral blood samples because, unlike tissue biopsies, these are readily available from all subjects. Using this approach, patterns of gene expression can be detected that distinguish patients with autoimmune conditions from normal subjects. Furthermore, the genes that are identified provide clues to possible pathogenetic mechanisms and are likely to be useful in developing tests to establish diagnostic categories and predict therapeutic responses.
Keywords: autoimmune disease, DNA microarrays, gene expression, systemic lupus erythematosus