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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evaluation of suitable reference genes for gene expression studies in bronchoalveolar lavage cells from horses with inflammatory airway disease

Laura Beekman1, Triin Tohver1, Rkia Dardari2 and Renaud Léguillette1*

Author Affiliations

1 Departement of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N1, Canada

2 Departement of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N1, Canada

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BMC Molecular Biology 2011, 12:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-12-5

Published: 28 January 2011

Abstract

Background

The stability of reference genes has a tremendous effect on the results of relative quantification of genes expression by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Equine Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) is a common condition often treated with corticosteroids. The diagnosis of IAD is based on clinical signs and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid cytology. The aim of this study was to identify reference genes with the most stable mRNA expression in the BAL cells of horses with IAD irrespective of corticosteroids treatment.

Results

The expression stability of seven candidate reference genes (B2M, HPRT, GAPDH, ACTB, UBB, RPL32, SDHA) was determined by qRT-PCR in BAL samples taken pre- and post- treatment with dexamethasone and fluticasone propionate for two weeks in 7 horses with IAD. Primers' efficiencies were calculated using LinRegPCR. NormFinder, GeNorm and qBasePlus softwares were used to rank the genes according to their stability. GeNorm was also used to determine both the ideal number and the best combination of reference genes. GAPDH was found to be the most stably expressed gene with the three softwares. GeNorm ranked B2M as the least stable gene. Based on the pair-wise variation cut-off value determined with GeNorm, the number of genes required for optimal normalization was four and included GAPDH, SDHA, HPRT and RPL32.

Conclusion

The geometric mean of GAPDH, HPRT, SDHA and RPL32 is recommended for accurate normalization of quantitative PCR data in BAL cells of horses with IAD treated with corticosteroids. If only one reference gene can be used, then GAPDH is recommended.