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Open Access Methodology article

Validation of endogenous controls for gene expression studies in peripheral lymphocytes from war veterans with and without PTSD

Jelena Brkljačić1, Nikola Tanić2, Danijela Vojnović Milutinović1, Ivana Elaković1, Sanja Manitašević Jovanović1, Tatjana Perišić1, Jadranka Dundjerski1 and Gordana Matić1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković", University of Belgrade, 142 Despot Stefan Blvd., Belgrade, 11000, Serbia

2 Department of Neurobiology, Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković", University of Belgrade, 142 Despot Stefan Blvd., Belgrade, 11000, Serbia

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BMC Molecular Biology 2010, 11:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-11-26

Published: 9 April 2010

Abstract

Background

Selection of appropriate endogenous control is a critical step in gene expression analysis. The aim of this study was to evaluate expression stability of four frequently used endogenous controls: β-actin, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, β2-microglobulin and RNA polymerase II polypeptide A in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from war veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study was designed as to identify suitable reference gene(s) for normalization of gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to war trauma and/or PTSD.

Results

The variability in expression of the four endogenous controls was assessed by TaqMan Real-time RT-PCR in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from: war veterans with current PTSD, those with lifetime PTSD, trauma controls and healthy subjects. Expression stability was analyzed by GeNorm and NormFinder software packages, and by direct comparison of Ct values. Both, GeNorm and NormFinder identified β-actin and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase as a pair of genes with the lowest stability value.

Conclusions

The combination of β-actin and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase appeared to be the most suitable reference for studying alterations in gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells related to vulnerability and resilience to PTSD, as well as to trauma-provoked developing of this disorder and recovery from it. Using glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, β-actin and β2-microglobulin as individual endogenous controls would provide satisfactory data, while RNA polymerase II polypeptide A could not be recommended.