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1.  Gene Expression Profiles from Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Are Sensitive to Short Processing Delays 
Biopreservation and biobanking  2010;8(3):153-162.
In the analysis of peripheral blood gene expression, timely processing of samples is essential to ensure that measurements reflect in vivo biology, rather than ex vivo sample processing variables. The effect of processing delays on global gene expression patterns in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was assessed by isolating and stabilizing PBMC-derived RNA from 3 individuals either immediately after phlebotomy or after a 4 h delay. RNA was labeled using NuGEN Ovation labeling and probed using the Affymetrix HG U133 Plus 2.0 GeneChip®. Comparison of gene expression levels (≥2-fold expression change and P < 0.05) identified 307 probe sets representing genes with increased expression and 46 indicating decreased expression after 4 h. These differentially expressed genes include many that are important to inflammatory, immunologic, and cancer pathways. Among others, CCR2, CCR5, TLR10, CD180, and IL-16 have decreased expression, whereas VEGF, IL8, SOCS2, SOCS3, CD69, and CD83 have increased expression after a 4 h processing delay. The trends in expression patterns associated with delayed processing were also apparent in an independent set of 276 arrays of RNA from human PBMC samples with varying processing times. These data indicate that the time between sample acquisition, initiation of processing, and when the RNA is stabilized should be a prime consideration when designing protocols for translational studies involving PBMC gene expression analysis.
PMCID: PMC3129811  PMID: 21743826
2.  Biologic similarities based on age at onset in oligoarticular and polyarticular subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(11):3249-3258.
To explore biologic correlates to age at onset in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression analysis.
PBMCs were isolated from 56 healthy controls and 104 patients with recent-onset JIA (39 with persistent oligoarticular JIA, 45 with rheumatoid factor–negative polyarticular JIA, and 20 with systemic JIA). RNA was amplified and labeled using NuGEN Ovation, and gene expression was assessed with Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 GeneChips.
A total of 832 probe sets revealed gene expression differences (false discovery rate 5%) in PBMCs from children with oligoarticular JIA whose disease began before age 6 years (early-onset disease) compared with those whose disease began at or after age 6 years (late-onset disease). In patients with early-onset disease, there was greater expression of genes related to B cells and less expression of genes related to cells of the myeloid lineage. Support vector machine analyses identified samples from patients with early- or late-onset oligoarticular JIA (with 97% accuracy) or from patients with early- or late-onset polyarticular JIA (with 89% accuracy), but not from patients with systemic JIA or healthy controls. Principal components analysis showed that age at onset was the major classifier of samples from patients with oligoarticular JIA and patients with polyarticular JIA.
PBMC gene expression analysis reveals biologic differences between patients with early-and late-onset JIA, independent of classification based on the number of joints involved. These data suggest that age at onset may be an important parameter to consider in JIA classification. Furthermore, pathologic mechanisms may vary with age at onset, and understanding these processes may lead to improved treatment of JIA.
PMCID: PMC3018072  PMID: 20662067
3.  Gene Expression Signatures in Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Demonstrate Disease Heterogeneity and Offer a Molecular Classification of Disease Subsets 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(7):2113-2123.
Microarray analysis was used to determine whether children with recent onset polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) exhibit biologically or clinically informative gene expression signatures in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
Peripheral blood samples were obtained from 59 healthy children and 61 children with polyarticular JIA prior to treatment with second-line medications, such as methotrexate or biological agents. RNA was extracted from Ficoll-isolated mononuclear cells, fluorescently labeled and hybridized to Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 GeneChips. Data were analyzed using ANOVA at a 5% false discovery rate threshold after Robust Multi-Array Average pre-processing and Distance Weighted Discrimination normalization.
Initial analysis revealed 873 probe sets for genes that were differentially expressed between polyarticular JIA and controls. Hierarchical clustering of these probe sets distinguished three subgroups within polyarticular JIA. Prototypical subjects within each subgroup were identified and used to define subgroup-specific gene expression signatures. One of these signatures was associated with monocyte markers, another with transforming growth factor β-inducible genes, and a third with immediate-early genes. Correlation of gene expression signatures with clinical and biological features of JIA subgroups suggests relevance to aspects of disease activity and supports the division of polyarticular JIA into distinct subsets.
PBMC gene expression signatures in recent onset polyarticular JIA reflect discrete disease processes and offer a molecular classification of disease.
PMCID: PMC2741130  PMID: 19565504
4.  Subtype-specific peripheral blood gene expression profiles in recent onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(7):2102-2112.
A multi-center study of recent onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) subjects prior to treatment with DMARDS or biologics was undertaken to identify peripheral blood gene expression differences between JIA subclasses and controls.
PBMC from 59 healthy children and 136 JIA subjects (28 enthesitis-related arthritis [ERA], 42 persistent oligoarthritis, 45 RF- polyarthritis, and 21 systemic) were isolated over Ficoll. Poly-A RNA was labeled using NuGEN Ovation and gene expression profiles were obtained using Affymetrix HG-U133 plus 2.0 Arrays.
9,501 differentially expressed probe sets were identified among JIA subtypes and controls (ANOVA, FDR 5%). Specifically, 193, 1036, 873 and 7595 probe sets were different between controls and ERA, persistent oligoarthritis, RF- polyarthritis and systemic JIA samples respectively. In persistent oligoarthritis, RF- polyarthritis and systemic JIA subtypes, up-regulation of genes associated with IL-10 signaling was prominent. A hemoglobin cluster was identified that was under-expressed in ERA patients but over-expressed in systemic JIA. The influence of JAK/STAT, ERK/MAPK, IL-2 and B cell receptor signaling pathways was evident in persistent oligoarthritis. In systemic JIA, up-regulation of innate immune pathways, including IL-6, TLR/IL1R, and PPAR signaling were noted, along with down-regulation of gene networks related to NK and T cells. Complement and coagulation pathways were up-regulated in systemic JIA with a subset of these genes differentially-expressed in other subtypes as well.
Expression analysis identified differentially expressed genes in PBMCs between subtypes of JIA early in disease and controls, thus providing evidence for immunobiologic differences between these forms of childhood arthritis.
PMCID: PMC2782469  PMID: 19565513
5.  Identification of blood biomarkers of rheumatoid arthritis by transcript profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the rat collagen-induced arthritis model 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic debilitating autoimmune disease that results in joint destruction and subsequent loss of function. To better understand its pathogenesis and to facilitate the search for novel RA therapeutics, we profiled the rat model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) to discover and characterize blood biomarkers for RA. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were purified using a Ficoll gradient at various time points after type II collagen immunization for RNA preparation. Total RNA was processed for a microarray analysis using Affymetrix GeneChip technology. Statistical comparison analyses identified differentially expressed genes that distinguished CIA from control rats. Clustering analyses indicated that gene expression patterns correlated with laboratory indices of disease progression. A set of 28 probe sets showed significant differences in expression between blood from arthritic rats and that from controls at the earliest time after induction, and the difference persisted for the entire time course. Gene Ontology comparison of the present study with previous published murine microarray studies showed conserved Biological Processes during disease induction between the local joint and PBMC responses. Genes known to be involved in autoimmune response and arthritis, such as those encoding Galectin-3, Versican, and Socs3, were identified and validated by quantitative TaqMan RT-PCR analysis using independent blood samples. Finally, immunoblot analysis confirmed that Galectin-3 was secreted over time in plasma as well as in supernatant of cultured tissue synoviocytes of the arthritic rats, which is consistent with disease progression. Our data indicate that gene expression in PBMCs from the CIA model can be utilized to identify candidate blood biomarkers for RA.
PMCID: PMC1526586  PMID: 16507131
6.  Changes in Gene Expression Profiles in Response to Selenium Supplementation among Individuals with Arsenic-induced Pre-malignant Skin Lesions 
Toxicology letters  2007;169(2):162-176.
The molecular basis and downstream targets of oral selenium supplementation in individuals with elevated risk of cancer due to chronic exposure from environmental carcinogens has been largely unexplored. In this study, we investigated genome-wide differential gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from individuals with pre-malignant arsenic (As)-induced skin lesions before and after six months daily oral supplementation of 200 μg l-selenomethionine. The Affymetrix GeneChip Human 133A 2.0 array, containing probes for 22,277 gene transcripts, was used to assess gene expression. Three different normalization methods, RMA (Robust Multi-chip Analysis), GC-RMA and PLIER (Probe Logarithmic Intensity Error), were applied to explore differentially expressed genes. We identified a list of 28 biologically meaningful, significantly differentially expressed genes. Genes up-regulated by selenium supplementation included TNF, IL1B, IL8, SOD2, CXCL2 and several other immunological and oxidative stress-related genes. When mapped to a biological association network, many of the differentially expressed genes were found to regulate functional classes such as fibroblast growth factor, collagenase, matrix metalloproteinase and stromelysin-1, and thus, considered to affect cellular processes like apoptosis, proliferation and others. Many of the significantly up-regulated genes following selenium-supplementation were previously found by us to be down-regulated in a different set of individuals with As-induced skin lesions compared to those without. In conclusion, findings from this study may elucidate the biological effect of selenium supplementation in humans. Additionally, this study suggests that long-term selenium supplementation may revert some of the gene expression changes presumably induced by chronic As exposure in individuals with pre-malignant skin lesions.
PMCID: PMC1924917  PMID: 17293063
Selenium; gene expression; micro-array; arsenic; skin lesion
7.  Discovery of Novel Biomarkers by Microarray Analysis of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Gene Expression in Benzene-Exposed Workers 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;113(6):801-807.
Benzene is an industrial chemical and component of gasoline that is an established cause of leukemia. To better understand the risk benzene poses, we examined the effect of benzene exposure on peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression in a population of shoe-factory workers with well-characterized occupational exposures using microarrays and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PBMC RNA was stabilized in the field and analyzed using a comprehensive human array, the U133A/B Affymetrix GeneChip set. A matched analysis of six exposed–control pairs was performed. A combination of robust multiarray analysis and ordering of genes using paired t-statistics, along with bootstrapping to control for a 5% familywise error rate, was used to identify differentially expressed genes in a global analysis. This resulted in a set of 29 known genes being identified that were highly likely to be differentially expressed. We also repeated these analyses on a smaller subset of 508 cytokine probe sets and found that the expression of 19 known cytokine genes was significantly different between the exposed and the control subjects. Six genes were selected for confirmation by real-time PCR, and of these, CXCL16, ZNF331, JUN, and PF4 were the most significantly affected by benzene exposure, a finding that was confirmed in a larger data set from 28 subjects. The altered expression was not caused by changes in the makeup of the PBMC fraction. Thus, microarray analysis along with real-time PCR confirmation reveals that altered expressions of CXCL16, ZNF331, JUN, and PF4 are potential biomarkers of benzene exposure.
PMCID: PMC1257610  PMID: 15929907
Affymetrix; benzene; biomarkers; blood; expression profiling; leukemia; lymphocyte; microarray; molecular epidemiology; occupational exposure; real-time PCR
8.  The prediction of interferon treatment effects based on time series microarray gene expression profiles 
The status of a disease can be reflected by specific transcriptional profiles resulting from the induction or repression activity of a number of genes. Here, we proposed a time-dependent diagnostic model to predict the treatment effects of interferon and ribavirin to HCV infected patients by using time series microarray gene expression profiles of a published study.
In the published study, 33 African-American (AA) and 36 Caucasian American (CA) patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 infection received pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy for 28 days. HG-U133A GeneChip containing 22283 probes was used to analyze the global gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of all the patients on day 0 (pretreatment), 1, 2, 7, 14, and 28. According to the decrease of HCV RNA levels on day 28, two categories of responses were defined: good and poor. A voting method based on Student's t test, Wilcoxon test, empirical Bayes test and significance analysis of microarray was used to identify differentially expressed genes. A time-dependent diagnostic model based on C4.5 decision tree was constructed to predict the treatment outcome. This model not only utilized the gene expression profiles before the treatment, but also during the treatment. Leave-one-out cross validation was used to evaluate the performance of the model.
The model could correctly predict all Caucasian American patients' treatment effects at very early time point. The prediction accuracy of African-American patients achieved 85.7%. In addition, thirty potential biomarkers which may play important roles in response to interferon and ribavirin were identified.
Our method provides a way of using time series gene expression profiling to predict the treatment effect of pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy on HCV infected patients. Similar experimental and bioinformatical strategies may be used to improve treatment decisions for other chronic diseases.
PMCID: PMC2546378  PMID: 18691426
9.  Identification of Candidate Genes in Scleroderma-Related Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 
We hypothesize that pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)-associated genes identified by expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) can also be identified in PBMCs from scleroderma patients with PAH (PAH-SSc). Gene expression profiles of PBMCs collected from IPAH (n=9), PAH-SSc (n=10) patients and healthy controls (n=5) were generated using HG_U133A_2.0 GeneChips and processed by RMA/GCOS_1.4/SAM_1.21 data analysis pipeline. Disease severity in consecutive patients was assessed by functional status and hemodynamic measurements. The expression profiles were analyzed using PAH severity-stratification, and identified candidate genes were validated with real time PCR (rtPCR). Transcriptomics of PBMCs from IPAH patients was highly comparable with that of PMBCs from PAH-SSc patients. The PBMC gene expression patterns significantly correlate with right atrium pressure (RA) and cardiac index (CI), known predictors of survival in PAH. Array stratification by RA and CI identified 364 PAH-associated candidate genes. Gene ontology analysis revealed significant (Zscore > 1.96) alterations in angiogenesis genes according to PAH severity: MMP9 and VEGF were significantly upregulated in mild as compared to severe PAH and healthy controls, as confirmed by rtPCR. These data demonstrate that PBMCs from patients with PAH-SSc carry distinct transcriptional expression. Furthermore, our findings suggest an association between angiogenesis-related gene expression and severity of PAH in PAH-SSc patients. Deciphering the role of genes involved in vascular remodeling and PAH development may reveal new treatment targets for this devastating disorder.
PMCID: PMC2359723  PMID: 18355767
10.  Peripheral blood gene expression profiles in COPD subjects 
To identify non-invasive gene expression markers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we performed genome-wide expression profiling of peripheral blood samples from 12 subjects with significant airflow obstruction and an equal number of non-obstructed controls. RNA was isolated from Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) and gene expression was assessed using Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 arrays.
Tests for gene expression changes that discriminate between COPD cases (FEV1< 70% predicted, FEV1/FVC < 0.7) and controls (FEV1> 80% predicted, FEV1/FVC > 0.7) were performed using Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) and Bayesian Analysis of Differential Gene Expression (BADGE). Using either test at high stringency (SAM median FDR = 0 or BADGE p < 0.01) we identified differential expression for 45 known genes. Correlation of gene expression with lung function measurements (FEV1 & FEV1/FVC), using both Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients (p < 0.05), identified a set of 86 genes. A total of 16 markers showed evidence of significant correlation (p < 0.05) with quantitative traits and differential expression between cases and controls. We further compared our peripheral gene expression markers with those we previously identified from lung tissue of the same cohort. Two genes, RP9and NAPE-PLD, were identified as decreased in COPD cases compared to controls in both lung tissue and blood. These results contribute to our understanding of gene expression changes in the peripheral blood of patients with COPD and may provide insight into potential mechanisms involved in the disease.
PMCID: PMC3164605  PMID: 21884629
Microarray; Biomarkers; PBMC
11.  Transcriptome Profiling of Whole Blood Cells Identifies PLEK2 and C1QB in Human Melanoma 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20971.
Developing analytical methodologies to identify biomarkers in easily accessible body fluids is highly valuable for the early diagnosis and management of cancer patients. Peripheral whole blood is a “nucleic acid-rich” and “inflammatory cell-rich” information reservoir and represents systemic processes altered by the presence of cancer cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted transcriptome profiling of whole blood cells from melanoma patients. To overcome challenges associated with blood-based transcriptome analysis, we used a PAXgene™ tube and NuGEN Ovation™ globin reduction system. The combined use of these systems in microarray resulted in the identification of 78 unique genes differentially expressed in the blood of melanoma patients. Of these, 68 genes were further analyzed by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR using blood samples from 45 newly diagnosed melanoma patients (stage I to IV) and 50 healthy control individuals. Thirty-nine genes were verified to be differentially expressed in blood samples from melanoma patients. A stepwise logit analysis selected eighteen 2-gene signatures that distinguish melanoma from healthy controls. Of these, a 2-gene signature consisting of PLEK2 and C1QB led to the best result that correctly classified 93.3% melanoma patients and 90% healthy controls. Both genes were upregulated in blood samples of melanoma patients from all stages. Further analysis using blood fractionation showed that CD45− and CD45+ populations were responsible for the altered expression levels of PLEK2 and C1QB, respectively.
The current study provides the first analysis of whole blood-based transcriptome biomarkers for malignant melanoma. The expression of PLEK2, the strongest gene to classify melanoma patients, in CD45− subsets illustrates the importance of analyzing whole blood cells for biomarker studies. The study suggests that transcriptome profiling of blood cells could be used for both early detection of melanoma and monitoring of patients for residual disease.
PMCID: PMC3115966  PMID: 21698244
12.  Transcriptomic Response of Porcine PBMCs to Vaccination with Tetanus Toxoid as a Model Antigen 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58306.
The aim of the present study was to characterize in vivo genome-wide transcriptional responses to immune stimulation in order to get insight into the resulting changes of allocation of resources. Vaccination with tetanus toxoid was used as a model for a mixed Th1 and Th2 immune response in pig. Expression profiles of PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) before and at 12 time points over a period of four weeks after initial and booster vaccination at day 14 were studied by use of Affymetrix GeneChip microarrays and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). The transcriptome data in total comprised more than 5000 genes with different transcript abundances (DE-genes). Within the single time stages the numbers of DE-genes were between several hundred and more than 1000. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis mainly revealed canonical pathways of cellular immune response and cytokine signaling as well as a broad range of processes in cellular and organismal growth, proliferation and development, cell signaling, biosynthesis and metabolism. Significant changes in the expression profiles of PBMCs already occurred very early after immune stimulation. At two hours after the first vaccination 679 DE-genes corresponding to 110 canonical pathways of cytokine signaling, cellular immune response and other multiple cellular functions were found. Immune competence and global disease resistance are heritable but difficult to measure and to address by breeding. Besides QTL mapping of immune traits gene expression profiling facilitates the detection of functional gene networks and thus functional candidate genes.
PMCID: PMC3607572  PMID: 23536793
13.  Gene Expression Profiling-Based Identification of CD28 and PI3K as New Biomarkers for Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease 
DNA and Cell Biology  2011;30(12):1019-1025.
Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Currently, no reliable biomarkers are available to predict the onset or progression of cGVHD. Therefore, in this study, we collected peripheral blood mononuclear cells from four patients with cGVHD and four ones with non-GVHD after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and employed Affymetrix GeneChip Human U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays to screen the genes differentially expressed in cGVHD versus non-GVHD groups, with the aim to identify potential clinical biomarkers to predict cGVHD risk or progression. Microarray analysis demonstrated that the expression of 3180 genes changed significantly in cGVHD versus non-GVHD, with 879 genes upregulated and 2301 genes downregulated. Among them we chose CD28 and PI3K as candidates for further verification. Flow cytometry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed the significant upregulation of CD28 and PI3K in samples from patients with cGVHD compared with patients with non-GVHD, respectively. In conclusion, our study suggested that the upregulation of CD28 and PI3K contributed to the onset and progression of cGVHD and provided evidence that CD28 and PI3K may serve as promising biomarkers for cGVHD.
PMCID: PMC3233912  PMID: 21682596
14.  Gene Expression Profiles in Cells of Peripheral Blood Identify New Molecular Markers of Acute Pancreatitis 
Blood leukocytes play a major role in mediating local and systemic inflammation during acute pancreatitis. We hypothesize that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in circulation exhibit unique changes in gene expression, and could provide a “reporter” function that reflects the inflammatory response in pancreas of acute pancreatitis.
To determine specific changes in blood leukocytes during acute pancreatitis, we studied gene transcription profile of in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in a rat model of experimental pancreatitis (sodium taurocholate). Normal rats, saline controls and a model of septic shock were used as a controls. cRNA obtained from PBMC of each group (n = 3) were applied to Affymetrix rat genome DNA Gene Chip Arrays.
From the 8,799 rat genes analyzed, 140 genes showed unique significant changes in their expression in PBMC during the acute phase of pancreatitis, but not in sepsis. Among the 140 genes, 57 were upregulated, while 69 were downregulated. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor, prostaglandin E2 receptor and phospholipase D1 are among the top upregulated genes. Others include genes involved in G protein-coupled receptor and TGF-β-mediated signaling pathways, while genes associated with apoptosis, glucocorticoid receptors and even the cholecystokinin receptor are downregulated.
Microarray analysis in transcriptional profiling of PBMC showed that genes that are uniquely related to molecular and pancreatic function display differential expression in acute pancreatitis. Profiling genes obtained from an easily accessible source during severe pancreatitis may identify surrogate markers for disease severity.
PMCID: PMC2668141  PMID: 18347268
Acute pancreatitis; oligonucleotide microarray; abdominal sepsis; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; PBMC
15.  Gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the setting of peripheral arterial disease 
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a relatively common manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis that leads to progressive narrowing of the lumen of leg arteries. Circulating monocytes are in contact with the arterial wall and can serve as reporters of vascular pathology in the setting of PAD. We performed gene expression analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in patients with PAD and controls without PAD to identify differentially regulated genes.
PAD was defined as an ankle brachial index (ABI) ≤0.9 (n = 19) while age and gender matched controls had an ABI > 1.0 (n = 18). Microarray analysis was performed using Affymetrix HG-U133 plus 2.0 gene chips and analyzed using GeneSpring GX 11.0. Gene expression data was normalized using Robust Multichip Analysis (RMA) normalization method, differential expression was defined as a fold change ≥1.5, followed by unpaired Mann-Whitney test (P < 0.05) and correction for multiple testing by Benjamini and Hochberg False Discovery Rate. Meta-analysis of differentially expressed genes was performed using an integrated bioinformatics pipeline with tools for enrichment analysis using Gene Ontology (GO) terms, pathway analysis using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), molecular event enrichment using Reactome annotations and network analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis suite. Extensive biocuration was also performed to understand the functional context of genes.
We identified 87 genes differentially expressed in the setting of PAD; 40 genes were upregulated and 47 genes were downregulated. We employed an integrated bioinformatics pipeline coupled with literature curation to characterize the functional coherence of differentially regulated genes.
Notably, upregulated genes mediate immune response, inflammation, apoptosis, stress response, phosphorylation, hemostasis, platelet activation and platelet aggregation. Downregulated genes included several genes from the zinc finger family that are involved in transcriptional regulation. These results provide insights into molecular mechanisms relevant to the pathophysiology of PAD.
PMCID: PMC3381689  PMID: 22409835
Peripheral arterial disease; Gene expression; Microarray analysis; Vascular disease; Biomarkers
16.  Impact of blood processing variations on Natural Killer cell frequency, activation, chemokine receptor expression and function 
Journal of immunological methods  2011;366(1-2):28-35.
Understanding the role of natural killer (NK) cells in human disease pathogenesis is crucial and necessitates study of patient samples directly ex vivo. Manipulation of whole blood by density gradient centrifugation or delays in sample processing due to shipping, however, may lead to artifactual changes in immune response measures. Here, we assessed the impact of density gradient centrifugation and delayed processing of both whole blood and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) at multiple timepoints (2–24 hrs) on flow cytometric measures of NK cell frequency, activation status, chemokine receptor expression, and effector functions. We found that density gradient centrifugation activated NK cells and modified chemokine receptor expression. Delays in processing beyond 8 hours activated NK cells in PBMC but not in whole blood. Likewise, processing delays decreased chemokine receptor (CCR4 and CCR7) expression in both PBMC and whole blood. Finally, delays in processing PBMC were associated with a decreased ability of NK cells to degranulate (as measured by CD107a expression) or secrete cytokines (IFN-γ and TNF-α). In summary, our findings suggest that density gradient centrifugation and delayed processing of PBMC can alter measures of clinically relevant NK cell characteristics including effector functions; and therefore should be taken into account in designing clinical research studies.
PMCID: PMC3051017  PMID: 21255578
Natural Killer cells; flow cytometry; activation; delayed processing; PBMC; whole blood; ficoll; chemokine receptor
17.  RNA pre-amplification enables large-scale RT-qPCR gene-expression studies on limiting sample amounts 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:235.
The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is a widely utilized method for gene-expression analysis. However, insufficient material often compromises large-scale gene-expression studies. The aim of this study is to evaluate an RNA pre-amplification method to produce micrograms of cDNA as input for qPCR.
The linear isothermal Ribo-SPIA pre-amplification method (WT-Ovation; NuGEN) was first evaluated by measuring the expression of 20 genes in RNA samples from six neuroblastoma cell lines and of 194 genes in two commercially available reference RNA samples before and after pre-amplification, and subsequently applied on a large panel of 738 RNA samples extracted from neuroblastoma tumours. All RNA samples were evaluated for RNA integrity and purity. Starting from 5 to 50 nanograms of total RNA the sample pre-amplification method was applied, generating approximately 5 microgams of cDNA, sufficient to measure more than 1000 target genes. The results obtained from this study show a constant yield of pre-amplified cDNA independent of the amount of input RNA; preservation of differential gene-expression after pre-amplification without introduction of substantial bias; no co-amplification of contaminating genomic DNA; no necessity to purify the pre-amplified material; and finally the importance of good RNA quality to enable pre-amplification.
Application of this unbiased and easy to use sample pre-amplification technology offers great advantage to generate sufficient material for diagnostic and prognostic work-up and enables large-scale qPCR gene-expression studies using limited amounts of sample material.
PMCID: PMC2789097  PMID: 19930725
18.  Role of HDAC3 on p53 Expression and Apoptosis in T Cells of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e16795.
Histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) belongs to a family of proteins which plays an important role in protein acetylation, chromatin remodeling and transcription of genes, including those that are involved in cell proliferation and cell death. While increased expression of HDAC3 is seen in neoplastic cells, the role of HDAC3 in T cells and their role in autoimmune disease is not known.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Applying Affymetrix GeneChip Human Gene 1.0 ST Array and the mixed effects model for gene set analysis, we compared gene expression profiles between multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and healthy controls (HC). Within the Apoptosis_GO gene set, the constitutive expression level of HDAC3 in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) was significantly increased in MS patients when compared to controls. Following addition of trichostatin A (TSA), an inhibitor of HDAC3, we examined the expression of p53 by flow cytometry and p53 targeted genes by real time RT-PCR in MS and HC. Culture of PBMC with TSA resulted in increased expression of p53 in HC but not in MS patients. TSA treated T cells from MS patients also showed reduced sensitivity to apoptosis when compared to HC, which was independent of activation of p53 targeted pro-apoptotic genes.
MS patients, when compared to controls, show an increased expression of HDAC3 and relative resistance to TSA induced apoptosis in T cells. Increased expression of HDAC3 in PBMC of MS patients may render putative autoreactive lymphocytes resistance to apoptosis and thereby contribute to autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3035634  PMID: 21346816
19.  Anti-inflammatory effect of rosiglitazone is not reflected in expression of NFκB-related genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus 
Rosiglitazone not only improves insulin-sensitivity, but also exerts anti-inflammatory effects. We have now examined in type 2 diabetic patients if these effects are reflected by changes in mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to see if these cells can be used to study these anti-inflammatory effects at the molecular level in vivo.
Eleven obese type 2 diabetic patients received rosiglitazone (2 × 4 mg/d) for 8 weeks. Fasting blood samples were obtained before and after treatment. Ten obese control subjects served as reference group. The expression of NFκB-related genes and PPARγ target genes in PBMCs, plasma TNFα, IL6, MCP1 and hsCRP concentrations were measured. In addition, blood samples were obtained after a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp.
Rosiglitazone reduced plasma MCP1 and hsCRP concentrations in diabetic patients (-9.5 ± 5.3 pg/mL, p = 0.043 and -1.1 ± 0.3 mg/L p = 0.003), respectively). For hsCRP, the concentration became comparable with the non-diabetic reference group. However, of the 84 NFκB-related genes that were measured in PBMCs from type 2 diabetic subjects, only RELA, SLC20A1, INFγ and IL1R1 changed significantly (p < 0.05). In addition, PPARγ and its target genes (CD36 and LPL) did not change. During the clamp, insulin reduced plasma MCP1 concentration in the diabetic and reference groups (-9.1 ± 1.8%, p = 0.001 and -11.1 ± 4.1%, p = 0.023, respectively) and increased IL6 concentration in the reference group only (23.5 ± 9.0%, p = 0.028).
In type 2 diabetic patients, the anti-inflammatory effect of rosiglitazone is not reflected by changes in NFκB and PPARγ target genes in PBMCs in vivo. Furthermore, our results do not support that high insulin concentrations contribute to the pro-inflammatory profile in type 2 diabetic patients.
PMCID: PMC2653037  PMID: 19243600
20.  Periodontal therapy alters gene expression of peripheral blood monocytes 
We investigated the effects of periodontal therapy on gene expression of peripheral blood monocytes.
Fifteen patients with periodontitis gave blood samples at four time points: 1 week before periodontal treatment (#1), at treatment initiation (baseline, #2), 6-week (#3) and 10-week post-baseline (#4). At baseline and 10 weeks, periodontal status was recorded and subgingival plaque samples were obtained. Periodontal therapy (periodontal surgery and extractions without adjunctive antibiotics) was completed within 6 weeks. At each time point, serum concentrations of 19 biomarkers were determined. Peripheral blood monocytes were purified, RNA was extracted, reverse-transcribed, labelled and hybridized with AffymetrixU133Plus2.0 chips. Expression profiles were analysed using linear random-effects models. Further analysis of gene ontology terms summarized the expression patterns into biologically relevant categories. Differential expression of selected genes was confirmed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in a subset of patients.
Treatment resulted in a substantial improvement in clinical periodontal status and reduction in the levels of several periodontal pathogens. Expression profiling over time revealed more than 11,000 probe sets differentially expressed at a false discovery rate of <0.05. Approximately 1/3 of the patients showed substantial changes in expression in genes relevant to innate immunity, apoptosis and cell signalling.
The data suggest that periodontal therapy may alter monocytic gene expression in a manner consistent with a systemic anti-inflammatory effect.
PMCID: PMC2670555  PMID: 17716309
atherosclerosis; cytokines; genomics; infection; inflammation; periodontitis
21.  Transcriptional Response of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Cattle Infected with Mycobacterium bovis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41066.
Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of most cases of bovine tuberculosis. The identification of bTB biomarkers in specific stages of the disease will contribute to a better understanding of the immunopathology associated with tuberculosis and will enable their use in disease diagnosis and prognosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the gene expression profile induced after specific stimulation of bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells from cattle infected with M. bovis using the Affymetrix® GeneChip® Bovine Genome Array. A total of 172 genes showed differential expression profile that was statistically significant with log2-fold change >2.5 and <−2.5. Twenty-four out of these genes were upregulated and 148 were downregulated in bovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells of M. bovis-infected cattle. The highest differentially-expressed genes were related to immune and inflammatory responses, apoptosis, endocytosis, cellular trafficking and genes encoding proteins involved in cellular matrix degradation. Microarray results were confirmed in another group of infected cattle by RT-qPCR for the CD14, IL-1R, THBS1, MMP9 and FYVE genes. This study confirms previous findings that have shown that M. bovis infection in cattle results in the downregulation of immune response-related genes. Moreover, it validates the use of microarray platforms in combination with RT-qPCR to identify biomarkers of bovine tuberculosis. In addition, we propose CD14, IL-1R, THBS1, MMP9 and FYVE as potential biomarkers of bovine tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3397951  PMID: 22815916
22.  Gene expression patterns in peripheral blood cells associated with radiographic severity in African Americans with early rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatology international  2012;33(1):129-137.
Gene expression profiling may be used to stratify patients by disease severity to test the hypothesis that variable disease outcome has a genetic component. In order to define unique expression signatures in African American rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with severe erosive disease, we undertook a gene expression study using samples of RNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). RNA from baseline PBMC samples of 96 African American RA patients with early RA (<2 years disease duration) was hybridized to cDNA probes of the Illumina Human HT-V3 expression array. Expression analyses were performed using the ca. 25,000 cDNA probes, and then expression levels were compared to the total number of erosions in radiographs of the hands and feet at baseline and 36 months. Using a false discovery rate cutoff of Q = 0.30, 1,138 genes at baseline and 680 genes at 36 months significantly correlated with total erosions. No evidence of a signal differentiating disease progression, or change in erosion scores between baseline and 36 months, was found. Further analyses demonstrated that the differential gene expression signature was localized to the patients with the most erosive disease (>10 erosions). Ingenuity Pathway Analysis demonstrated that genes with fold change greater than 1.5 implicated immune pathways such as CTLA signaling in cytotoxic T lymphocytes. These results demonstrate that CLEAR patients with early RA having the most severe erosive disease, as compared to more mild cases (<10 erosions), may be characterized by a set of differentially expressed genes that represent biological pathways with relevance to autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC3769702  PMID: 22238028
Genome-wide gene expression; Sharp/van der Heijde; Pathway analysis; CLEAR; ABCoN
23.  Early gene expression changes with rush immunotherapy 
To examine whether whole genome expression profiling could reveal changes in mRNA expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from allergic patients undergoing rush immunotherapy (RIT) that might be manifest within the first few months of treatment.
For this study, PBMC from three allergic patients undergoing RIT were assessed at four timepoints: prior to RIT, at 1 week and 7 week post-RIT, during build-up and at 4 months, after establishment of a maintenance dose. PBMC mRNA gene expression changes over time were determined by oligonucleotide microarrays using the Illumina Human-6 BeadChip Platform, which simultaneously interrogates expression profiles of > 47,000 transcripts. Differentially expressed genes were identified using well-established statistical analysis for microarrays. In addition, we analyzed peripheral blood basophil high-affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilon RI) expression and T-regulatory cell frequency as detected by expression of CD3+CD4+CD25bright cells at each timepoint using flow cytometry.
In comparing the initial 2 timepoints with the final 2 timepoints and analyzing for genes with ≥1.5-fold expression change (p less than or equal to 0.05, BH-FDR), we identified 507 transcripts. At a 2-fold change (p less than or equal to 0.05, BH-FDR), we found 44 transcripts. Of these, 28 were up-regulated and 16 were down-regulated genes. From these datasets, we have identified changes in immunologically relevant genes from both the innate and adaptive response with upregulation of expressed genes for molecules including IL-1β, IL-8, CD40L, BTK and BCL6. At the 4 month timepoint, we noted a downward trend in Fc epsilon RI expression in each of the three patients and increased allergen-specific IgG4 levels. No change was seen in the frequency of peripheral T-regulatory cells expressed over the four timepoints.
We observed significant changes in gene expression early in peripheral blood samples from allergic patients undergoing RIT. Moreover, serum levels for allergen specific IgG4 also increased over the course of treatment. These studies suggest that RIT induces rapid and dynamic alterations in both innate and adaptive immunity which can be observed in the periphery of allergic patients. These alterations could be directly related to the therapeutic shift in the allergen-specific class of immunoglobulin.
PMCID: PMC3195724  PMID: 21961521
Rush immunotherapy; allergy; gene expression
24.  Gene expression profile in circulating mononuclear cells after exposure to ultrafine carbon particles 
Inhalation toxicology  2010;22(10):10.3109/08958378.2010.486419.
Exposure to particulate matter (PM) is associated with systemic health effects, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms are unclear.
We hypothesized that, if circulating mononuclear cells play an important role in mediating systemic effects of PM, they would show gene expression changes following exposure.
Materials and methods
Peripheral blood samples were collected before (0 hour) and at 24 hours after exposure from healthy subjects who participated in previous controlled exposures to ultrafine carbon particles (UFP, 50 μg/m3) or filtered air (FA)(n = 3 each). RNA from mononuclear cell fraction (>85% lymphocytes) was extracted, amplified and hybridized to Affymetrix HU133 plus 2 microarrays.
We identified 1713 genes (UFP 24 hours vs. FA 0 and 24 hours, p < 0.05, FDR 0.01). The top 10 upregulated genes (fold) were CDKN1C (1.86), ZNF12 (1.83), SRGAP2 (1.82), FYB (1.79), LSM14B (1.79), CD93 (1.76), NCSTN (1.70), DUSP6 (1.69), TACC1 (1.68) and H2AFY (1.68). Upregulation of CDKN1C and SRGAP2 was confirmed by RT-PCR using samples from additional 5 subjects exposed to FA and UFP. We entered 1020 genes with a ratio >1.1 or <−1.1 into the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and identified many canonical pathways related to inflammation, tissue growth and host defense against environmental insults, including IGF-1 signaling, insulin receptor signaling and NRF2-mediated oxidative stress response pathway.
Discussion and conclusions
Two-hour exposures to UFP produced gene expression changes in circulating mononuclear cells. These gene changes provide biologically plausible links to PM-induced systemic health effects, especially those in the cardiovascular system and glucose metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3855293  PMID: 20507211
25.  Uncovering information on expression of natural antisense transcripts in Affymetrix MOE430 datasets 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:200.
The function and significance of the widespread expression of natural antisense transcripts (NATs) is largely unknown. The ability to quantitatively assess changes in NAT expression for many different transcripts in multiple samples would facilitate our understanding of this relatively new class of RNA molecules.
Here, we demonstrate that standard expression analysis Affymetrix MOE430 and HG-U133 GeneChips contain hundreds of probe sets that detect NATs. Probe sets carrying a "Negative Strand Matching Probes" annotation in NetAffx were validated using Ensembl by manual and automated approaches. More than 50 % of the 1,113 probe sets with "Negative Strand Matching Probes" on the MOE430 2.0 GeneChip were confirmed as detecting NATs. Expression of selected antisense transcripts as indicated by Affymetrix data was confirmed using strand-specific RT-PCR. Thus, Affymetrix datasets can be mined to reveal information about the regulated expression of a considerable number of NATs. In a correlation analysis of 179 sense-antisense (SAS) probe set pairs using publicly available data from 1637 MOE430 2.0 GeneChips a significant number of SAS transcript pairs were found to be positively correlated.
Standard expression analysis Affymetrix GeneChips can be used to measure many different NATs. The large amount of samples deposited in microarray databases represents a valuable resource for a quantitative analysis of NAT expression and regulation in different cells, tissues and biological conditions.
PMCID: PMC1929078  PMID: 17598913

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