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1.  Genome-Wide Transcriptional Profiling Reveals Connective Tissue Mast Cell Accumulation in Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia 
Rationale: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a major complication of premature birth. Risk factors for BPD are complex and include prenatal infection and O2 toxicity. BPD pathology is equally complex and characterized by inflammation and dysmorphic airspaces and vasculature. Due to the limited availability of clinical samples, an understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of this disease and its causal mechanisms and associated biomarkers is limited.
Objectives: Apply genome-wide expression profiling to define pathways affected in BPD lungs.
Methods: Lung tissue was obtained at autopsy from 11 BPD cases and 17 age-matched control subjects without BPD. RNA isolated from these tissue samples was interrogated using microarrays. Standard gene selection and pathway analysis methods were applied to the data set. Abnormal expression patterns were validated by quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry.
Measurements and Main Results: We identified 159 genes differentially expressed in BPD tissues. Pathway analysis indicated previously appreciated (e.g., DNA damage regulation of cell cycle) as well as novel (e.g., B-cell development) biological functions were affected. Three of the five most highly induced genes were mast cell (MC)-specific markers. We confirmed an increased accumulation of connective tissue MCTC (chymase expressing) mast cells in BPD tissues. Increased expression of MCTC markers was also demonstrated in an animal model of BPD-like pathology.
Conclusions: We present a unique genome-wide expression data set from human BPD lung tissue. Our data provide information on gene expression patterns associated with BPD and facilitated the discovery that MCTC accumulation is a prominent feature of this disease. These observations have significant clinical and mechanistic implications.
PMCID: PMC3443810  PMID: 22723293
microarray; tryptase; chymase; carboxypeptidase A3; bronchopulmonary dysplasia
2.  Apolipoprotein E gene polymorphism: effects on plasma lipids and risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease 
The most common apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene polymorphism has been found to influence plasma lipid concentration and its correlation with coronary artery disease (CAD) has been extensively investigated in the last decade. It is, however, unclear whether apoE gene polymorphism is also associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The knowledge of this study may provide the primary prevention for T2DM and CAD development before its initiation and progression. Therefore, this study was carried out to determine the association between apoE gene polymorphism and T2DM with and without CAD and its role in lipid metabolism.
The case-control study was carried out on a total of 451 samples including 149 normal control subjects, 155 subjects with T2DM, and 147 subjects with T2DM complicated with CAD. The apoE gene polymorphism was tested by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify the possible risks of T2DM and CAD.
A significantly increased frequency of E3/E4 genotype was observed only in T2DM with CAD group (p = 0.0004), whereas the ε4 allele was significantly higher in both T2DM (p = 0.047) and T2DM with CAD (p = 0.009) as compared with controls. E3/E4 genotype was also the independent risk in developing CAD after adjusting with established risk factors with adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.52 (95%CI 1.28-4.97, p = 0.008). The independent predictor of individuals carrying ε4 allele still remained significantly associated with both CAD (adjusted OR 2.32, 95%CI 1.17-4.61, p = 0.016) and T2DM (adjusted OR 2.04, 95%CI 1.07-3.86, p = 0.029). After simultaneously examining the joint association of E3/E4 genotype combined with either obesity or smoking the risk increased to approximately 5-fold in T2DM (adjusted OR 4.93, 95%CI 1.74-13.98, p = 0.003) and 10-fold in CAD (adjusted OR 10.48, 95%CI 3.56-30.79, p < 0.0001). The association between apoE genotypes on plasma lipid levels was compared between E3/E3 as a reference and E4-bearing genotypes. E4-bearing genotypes showed lower HDL-C and higher VLDL-C and TG, whereas other values of plasma lipid concentrations showed no significant difference.
These results indicate that ε4 allele has influence on lipid profiles and is associated with the development of both T2DM with and without CAD, and furthermore, it increased the risk among the subjects with obesity and/or smoking, the conditions associated with high oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3372424  PMID: 22520940
Apolipoprotein E; Polymorphism; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Hyperglycemia; Coronary artery disease; Restriction fragment length polymorphism
3.  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
4.  Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors Control Epithelial–Mesenchymal Interactions Necessary for Alveolar Elastogenesis 
Rationale: The mechanisms contributing to alveolar formation are poorly understood. A better understanding of these processes will improve efforts to ameliorate lung disease of the newborn and promote alveolar repair in the adult. Previous studies have identified impaired alveogenesis in mice bearing compound mutations of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors (FGFRs) 3 and 4, indicating that these receptors cooperatively promote postnatal alveolar formation.
Objectives: To determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms of FGF-mediated alveolar formation.
Methods: Compound FGFR3/FGFR4-deficient mice were assessed for temporal changes in lung growth, airspace morphometry, and genome-wide expression. Observed gene expression changes were validated using quantitative real-time RT-PCR, tissue biochemistry, histochemistry, and ELISA. Autocrine and paracrine regulatory mechanisms were investigated using isolated lung mesenchymal cells and type II pneumocytes.
Measurements and Main Results: Quantitative analysis of airspace ontogeny confirmed a failure of secondary crest elongation in compound mutant mice. Genome-wide expression profiling identified molecular alterations in these mice involving aberrant expression of numerous extracellular matrix molecules. Biochemical and histochemical analysis confirmed changes in elastic fiber gene expression resulted in temporal increases in elastin deposition with the loss of typical spatial restriction. No abnormalities in elastic fiber gene expression were observed in isolated mesenchymal cells, indicating that abnormal elastogenesis in compound mutant mice is not cell autonomous. Increased expression of paracrine factors, including insulin-like growth factor−1, in freshly-isolated type II pneumocytes indicated that these cells contribute to the observed pathology.
Conclusions: Epithelial/mesenchymal signaling mechanisms appear to contribute to FGFR-dependent alveolar elastogenesis and proper airspace formation.
PMCID: PMC2854333  PMID: 20093646
lung development; fibroblast growth factor receptor; alveogenesis; insulin-like growth factor−1; microarray
5.  Molecular Biomarkers for Quantitative and Discrete COPD Phenotypes 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung disorder with complex pathological features and largely unknown etiology. The identification of biomarkers for this disease could aid the development of methods to facilitate earlier diagnosis, the classification of disease subtypes, and provide a means to define therapeutic response. To identify gene expression biomarkers, we completed expression profiling of RNA derived from the lung tissue of 56 subjects with varying degrees of airflow obstruction using the Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 array. We applied multiple, independent analytical methods to define biomarkers for either discrete or quantitative disease phenotypes. Analysis of differential expression between cases (n = 15) and controls (n = 18) identified a set of 65 discrete biomarkers. Correlation of gene expression with quantitative measures of airflow obstruction (FEV1%predicted or FEV1/FVC) identified a set of 220 biomarkers. Biomarker genes were enriched in functions related to DNA binding and regulation of transcription. We used this group of biomarkers to predict disease in an unrelated data set, generated from patients with severe emphysema, with 97% accuracy. Our data contribute to the understanding of gene expression changes occurring in the lung tissue of patients with obstructive lung disease and provide additional insight into potential mechanisms involved in the disease process. Furthermore, we present the first gene expression biomarker for COPD validated in an independent data set.
PMCID: PMC2645534  PMID: 18849563
microarray; gene expression; emphysema; lung function
7.  Genetic ablation of Nrf2 enhances susceptibility to cigarette smoke–induced emphysema in mice 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;114(9):1248-1259.
Although inflammation and protease/antiprotease imbalance have been postulated to be critical in cigarette smoke–induced (CS-induced) emphysema, oxidative stress has been suspected to play an important role in chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Susceptibility of the lung to oxidative injury, such as that originating from inhalation of CS, depends largely on its upregulation of antioxidant systems. Nuclear factor, erythroid-derived 2, like 2 (Nrf2) is a redox-sensitive basic leucine zipper protein transcription factor that is involved in the regulation of many detoxification and antioxidant genes. Disruption of the Nrf2 gene in mice led to earlier-onset and more extensive CS-induced emphysema than was found in wild-type littermates. Emphysema in Nrf2-deficient mice exposed to CS for 6 months was associated with more pronounced bronchoalveolar inflammation; with enhanced alveolar expression of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine, a marker of oxidative stress; and with an increased number of apoptotic alveolar septal cells — predominantly endothelial and type II epithelial cells — as compared with wild-type mice. Microarray analysis identified the expression of nearly 50 Nrf2-dependent antioxidant and cytoprotective genes in the lung that may work in concert to counteract CS-induced oxidative stress and inflammation. The responsiveness of the Nrf2 pathway may act as a major determinant of susceptibility to tobacco smoke–induced emphysema by upregulating antioxidant defenses and decreasing lung inflammation and alveolar cell apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC524225  PMID: 15520857

Results 1-7 (7)