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Analysis of CD4+ T-cell gene expression in allergic subjects using two different microarray platforms

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Allergic diseases are thought to involve dysregulated activation of T cells including CD4+ lymphocytes. T-cell activation results in changes in gene expression, but the optimal method to study gene expression profiles in T cells, and how this changes over time, are not known. Methods: 

Circulating CD4+ T cells were obtained from subjects with atopic asthma, nonatopic asthma or nonallergic controls, and total mRNA was rapidly isolated. Atopy was defined as positive skin prick test to one of nine allergens. Gene expression was analyzed using hybridization and Affymetrix® oligonucleotide arrays (Hu133A and Hu133B chips, n = 84), or by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with a pathway-targeted array (Human Th1–Th2–Th3 RT2 ProfilerTM PCR Array, Superarray, n = 16). Results: 

Using Affymetrix arrays, it was difficult to discern a dominant allergy-associated profile because of heterogeneity in gene expression profiles. In contrast, a Th2-like signature was evident using RT-PCR arrays with increased expression of expected genes (e.g. IL-4, 5, 9, and 13, all P < 0.05) as well as unexpected gene transcripts (e.g. osteopontin). Gene expression profiles were relatively stable over time in circulating CD4+ T cells from two subjects using both platforms. Conclusions: 

Unstimulated CD4+ T cells isolated from allergic subjects express a characteristic profile of genes when analyzed using RT-PCR based microarrays.
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Keywords: CD4+ cells; Th2 cells; allergy; gene expression; microarray

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Division Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine 2: Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine 3: Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Baltimore, MD 4: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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