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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Peripheral blood gene expression patterns discriminate among chronic inflammatory diseases and healthy controls and identify novel targets

Bertalan Mesko1, Szilard Poliska114, Andrea Szegedi3, Zoltan Szekanecz5, Karoly Palatka6, Maria Papp6 and Laszlo Nagy124*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

2 Apoptosis and Genomics Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Research Center for Molecular Medicine, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

3 Department of Dermatology, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

4 Clinical Genomics Center, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

5 Department of Rheumatology, Institute of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Center, Debrecen, Hungary

6 2nd Department of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Center, Debrecen, Hungary

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Genomics 2010, 3:15  doi:10.1186/1755-8794-3-15

Published: 5 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Chronic inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) afflict millions of people worldwide, but their pathogenesis is still not well understood.

It is also not well known if distinct changes in gene expression characterize these diseases and if these patterns can discriminate between diseased and control patients and/or stratify the disease. The main focus of our work was the identification of novel markers that overlap among the 3 diseases or discriminate them from each other.

Methods

Diseased (n = 13, n = 15 and n = 12 in IBD, psoriasis and RA respectively) and healthy patients (n = 18) were recruited based on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria; peripheral blood samples were collected by clinicians (30 ml) in Venous Blood Vacuum Collection Tubes containing EDTA and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were separated by Ficoll gradient centrifugation. RNA was extracted using Trizol reagent. Gene expression data was obtained using TaqMan Low Density Array (TLDA) containing 96 genes that were selected by an algorithm and the statistical analyses were performed in Prism by using non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test (P-values < 0.05).

Results

Here we show that using a panel of 96 disease associated genes and measuring mRNA expression levels in peripheral blood derived mononuclear cells; we could identify disease-specific gene panels that separate each disease from healthy controls. In addition, a panel of five genes such as ADM, AQP9, CXCL2, IL10 and NAMPT discriminates between all samples from patients with chronic inflammation and healthy controls. We also found genes that stratify the diseases and separate different subtypes or different states of prognosis in each condition.

Conclusions

These findings and the identification of five universal markers of chronic inflammation suggest that these diseases have a common background in pathomechanism, but still can be separated by peripheral blood gene expression. Importantly, the identified genes can be associated with overlapping biological processes including changed inflammatory response. Gene panels based on such markers can play a major role in the development of personalized medicine, in monitoring disease progression and can lead to the identification of new potential drug targets in chronic inflammation.