Open Access Research article

Expression of a retinoic acid signature in circulating CD34 cells from coronary artery disease patients

Tineke CTM van der Pouw Kraan1*, Stephan H Schirmer25, Joost O Fledderus3, Perry D Moerland4, Josefien M Baggen1, Thomas A Leyen1, Anja M van der Laan2, Jan J Piek2, Niels van Royen2 and Anton JG Horrevoets1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat, 1081BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef, 1081BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Department of Medical Biochemistry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef, 1081BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

4 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef, 1081BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5 Klinik für Innere Medizin III (Kardiologie, Angiologie und Internistische Intensivmedizin), Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Kirrberger Strasse, 66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:388  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-388

Published: 21 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Circulating CD34+ progenitor cells have the potential to differentiate into a variety of cells, including endothelial cells. Knowledge is still scarce about the transcriptional programs used by CD34+ cells from peripheral blood, and how these are affected in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients.

Results

We performed a whole genome transcriptome analysis of CD34+ cells, CD4+ T cells, CD14+ monocytes, and macrophages from 12 patients with CAD and 11 matched controls. CD34+ cells, compared to other mononuclear cells from the same individuals, showed high levels of KRAB box transcription factors, known to be involved in gene silencing. This correlated with high expression levels in CD34+ cells for the progenitor markers HOXA5 and HOXA9, which are known to control expression of KRAB factor genes. The comparison of expression profiles of CD34+ cells from CAD patients and controls revealed a less naïve phenotype in patients' CD34+ cells, with increased expression of genes from the Mitogen Activated Kinase network and a lowered expression of a panel of histone genes, reaching levels comparable to that in more differentiated circulating cells. Furthermore, we observed a reduced expression of several genes involved in CXCR4-signaling and migration to SDF1/CXCL12.

Conclusions

The altered gene expression profile of CD34+ cells in CAD patients was related to activation/differentiation by a retinoic acid-induced differentiation program. These results suggest that circulating CD34+ cells in CAD patients are programmed by retinoic acid, leading to a reduced capacity to migrate to ischemic tissues.