Open Access Research article

Genes related to the very early stage of ConA-induced fulminant hepatitis: a gene-chip-based study in a mouse model

Feng Chen1, Hai-Hong Zhu1, Lin-Fu Zhou2, Jie Li1, Li-Ying Zhao1, Shan-Shan Wu1, Jing Wang1, Wei Liu2 and Zhi Chen1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Infectious Disease Diagnosis and Treatment, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang, 310003, China

2 Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang, 310003, China

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:240  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-240

Published: 15 April 2010



Due to the high morbidity and mortality of fulminant hepatitis, early diagnosis followed by early effective treatment is the key for prognosis improvement. So far, little is known about the gene expression changes in the early stage of this serious illness. Identification of the genes related to the very early stage of fulminant hepatitis development may provide precise clues for early diagnosis.


Balb/C mice were used for ConA injection to induce fulminant hepatitis that was confirmed by pathological and biochemical examination. After a gene chip-based screening, the data of gene expression in the liver, was further dissected by ANOVA analysis, gene expression profiles, gene network construction and real-time RT-PCR.

At the very early stage of ConA-triggered fulminant hepatitis, totally 1,473 genes with different expression variations were identified. Among these, 26 genes were finally selected for further investigation. The data from gene network analysis demonstrate that two genes, MPDZ and Acsl1, localized in the core of the network.


At the early stages of fulminant hepatitis, expression of twenty-six genes involved in protein transport, transcription regulation and cell metabolism altered significantly. These genes form a network and have shown strong correlation with fulminant hepatitis development. Our study provides several potential targets for the early diagnosis of fulminant hepatitis.