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1.  Sources of variability and effect of experimental approach on expression profiling data interpretation 
BMC Bioinformatics  2002;3:4.
Background
We provide a systematic study of the sources of variability in expression profiling data using 56 RNAs isolated from human muscle biopsies (34 Affymetrix MuscleChip arrays), and 36 murine cell culture and tissue RNAs (42 Affymetrix U74Av2 arrays).
Results
We studied muscle biopsies from 28 human subjects as well as murine myogenic cell cultures, muscle, and spleens. Human MuscleChip arrays (4,601 probe sets) and murine U74Av2 Affymetrix microarrays were used for expression profiling. RNAs were profiled both singly, and as mixed groups. Variables studied included tissue heterogeneity, cRNA probe production, patient diagnosis, and GeneChip hybridizations. We found that the greatest source of variability was often different regions of the same patient muscle biopsy, reflecting variation in cell type content even in a relatively homogeneous tissue such as muscle. Inter-patient variation was also very high (SNP noise). Experimental variation (RNA, cDNA, cRNA, or GeneChip) was minor. Pre-profile mixing of patient cRNA samples effectively normalized both intra- and inter-patient sources of variation, while retaining a high degree of specificity of the individual profiles (86% of statistically significant differences detected by absolute analysis; and 85% by a 4-pairwise comparison survival method).
Conclusions
Using unsupervised cluster analysis and correlation coefficients of 92 RNA samples on 76 oligonucleotide microarrays, we found that experimental error was not a significant source of unwanted variability in expression profiling experiments. Major sources of variability were from use of small tissue biopsies, particularly in humans where there is substantial inter-patient variability (SNP noise).
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-3-4
PMCID: PMC65691  PMID: 11936955
2.  Expression Profiling in the Muscular Dystrophies 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;151(6):1321-1336.
We used expression profiling to define the pathophysiological cascades involved in the progression of two muscular dystrophies with known primary biochemical defects, dystrophin deficiency (Duchenne muscular dystrophy) and α-sarcoglycan deficiency (a dystrophin-associated protein). We employed a novel protocol for expression profiling in human tissues using mixed samples of multiple patients and iterative comparisons of duplicate datasets. We found evidence for both incomplete differentiation of patient muscle, and for dedifferentiation of myofibers to alternative lineages with advancing age. One developmentally regulated gene characterized in detail, α-cardiac actin, showed abnormal persistent expression after birth in 60% of Duchenne dystrophy myofibers. The majority of myofibers (∼80%) remained strongly positive for this protein throughout the course of the disease. Other developmentally regulated genes that showed widespread overexpression in these muscular dystrophies included embryonic myosin heavy chain, versican, acetylcholine receptor α-1, secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine/osteonectin, and thrombospondin 4. We hypothesize that the abnormal Ca2+ influx in dystrophin- and α-sarcoglycan–deficient myofibers leads to altered developmental programming of developing and regenerating myofibers. The finding of upregulation of HLA-DR and factor XIIIa led to the novel identification of activated dendritic cell infiltration in dystrophic muscle; these cells mediate immune responses and likely induce microenvironmental changes in muscle. We also document a general metabolic crisis in dystrophic muscle, with large scale downregulation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial gene expression. Finally, our expression profiling results show that primary genetic defects can be identified by a reduction in the corresponding RNA.
PMCID: PMC2190600  PMID: 11121445
muscular dystrophy; microarray; dystrophin; α-sarcoglycan; expression profiling

Results 1-2 (2)