Our understanding of the cardiovascular system has evolved through the years by extensive studies emphasizing the identification of the molecular and physiological mechanisms involved in its normal function and disease pathogenesis. Major discoveries have been made along the way. However, the majority of this work has focused on specific genes or pathways rather than integrative approaches. In cardiomyopathies alone, over 30 different loci have shown mutations with varying inheritance patterns, yet mostly coding for structural proteins. The emergence of microarrays in the early 1990s paved the way to a new era of cardiovascular research. Microarrays dramatically accelerated the rhythm of discoveries by giving us the ability to simultaneously study thousands of genes in a single experiment. In the field of cardiovascular research, microarrays are having a significant contribution, with the majority of work focusing on end-stage cardiomyopathies that lead to heart failure. Novel molecular mechanisms have been identified, known pathways are seen under new light, disease subgroups begin to emerge, and the effects of various drugs are molecularly dissected. This cross-study data comparison concludes that consistent energy metabolism gene expression changes occur across dilated, hypertrophic, and ischemic cardiomyopathies, while Ca2+ homeostasis changes are prominent in the first two cardiomyopathies, and structural gene expression changes accompany mostly the dilated form. Gene expression changes are further correlated to disease genetics. The future of microarrays in the cardiomyopathy field is discussed with an emphasis on optimum experimental design and on applications in diagnosis, prognosis, and drug discovery.
Side Population (SP) cells, isolated from murine adult bone marrow (BM) based on the exclusion of the DNA dye Hoechst 33342, exhibit potent hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) activity when compared to Main Population (MP) cells. Furthermore, SP cells derived from murine skeletal muscle exhibit both hematopoietic and myogenic potential in vivo. The multipotential capacity of SP cells isolated from variable tissues is supported by an increasing number of studies. To investigate whether the SP phenotype is associated with a unique transcriptional profile, we characterized gene expression of SP cells isolated from two biologically distinct tissues, bone marrow and muscle. Comparison of SP cells with differentiated MP cells within a tissue revealed that SP cells are in an active transcriptional and translational status and underexpress genes reflecting tissue-specific functions. Direct comparison of gene expression of SP cells isolated from different tissues identified genes common to SP cells as well as genes specific to SP cells within a particular tissue and further define a muscle and bone marrow environment. This study reports gene expression of muscle SP cells, common features and differences between SP cells isolated from muscle and bone marrow, and further identifies common signaling pathways that might regulate SP cell functions.
There is a consistent variation in the response of different skeletal muscle groups to mutations in genes known to cause muscular dystrophy, yet these muscles appear histologically similar. To better understand these phenotypic differences, we analyzed gene expression patterns in control muscle specimens obtained from four sites at autopsy: deltoid, quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior (TA). A total of 35 muscle samples from nine individuals (four pediatric and five geriatric) were studied. Factors potentially influencing gene expression in the different samples included individuality, age, muscle type, gender, cause of death, postmortem interval, and ethnicity. The first three factors, in decreasing order, were found to have a significant impact on the stratification of muscle specimens. A novel analytic method, using a second round of normalization, was used to elicit differences between muscle types. This approach may be extended to a broader survey, potentially elucidating a molecular classification of the skeletal muscles.
The phenotypic differences among Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients, mdx mice, and mdx(5cv) mice suggest that despite the common etiology of dystrophin deficiency, secondary mechanisms have a substantial influence on phenotypic severity. The differential response of various skeletal muscles to dystrophin deficiency supports this hypothesis. To explore these differences, gene expression profiles were generated from duplicate RNA targets extracted from six different skeletal muscles (diaphragm, soleus, gastrocnemius, quadriceps, tibialis anterior, and extensor digitorum longus) from wild-type, mdx, and mdx(5cv) mice, resulting in 36 data sets for 18 muscle samples. The data sets were compared in three different ways: (1) among wild-type samples only, (2) among all 36 data sets, and (3) between strains for each muscle type. The molecular profiles of soleus and diaphragm separate significantly from the other four muscle types and from each other. Fiber-type proportions can explain some of these differences. These variations in wild-type gene expression profiles may also reflect biomechanical differences known to exist among skeletal muscles. Further exploration of the genes that most distinguish these muscles may help explain the origins of the biomechanical differences and the reasons why some muscles are more resistant than others to dystrophin deficiency.
Dermatomyositis has been modeled as an autoimmune disease largely mediated by the adaptive immune system, including a local humorally mediated response with B and T helper cell muscle infiltration, antibody and complement-mediated injury of capillaries, and perifascicular atrophy of muscle fibers caused by ischemia. To further understand the pathophysiology of dermatomyositis, we used microarrays, computational methods, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy to study muscle specimens from 67 patients, 54 with inflammatory myopathies, 14 with dermatomyositis. In dermatomyositis, genes induced by interferon-alpha/beta were highly overexpressed, and immunohistochemistry for the interferon-alpha/beta inducible protein MxA showed dense staining of perifascicular, and, sometimes all myofibers in 8/14 patients and on capillaries in 13/14 patients. Of 36 patients with other inflammatory myopathies, 1 patient had faint MxA staining of myofibers and 3 of capillaries. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells, potent CD4+ cellular sources of interferon-alpha, are present in substantial numbers in dermatomyositis and may account for most of the cells previously identified as T helper cells. In addition to an adaptive immune response, an innate immune response characterized by plasmacytoid dendritic cell infiltration and interferon-alpha/beta inducible gene and protein expression may be an important part of the pathogenesis of dermatomyositis, as it appears to be in systemic lupus erythematosus.
The origin of the pathogenic endothelial cells in common infantile hemangioma is unknown. We show here that the transcriptomes of human placenta and infantile hemangioma are sufficiently similar to suggest a placental origin for this tumor, expanding on recent immunophenotypical studies that have suggested this possibility [North, P. E., et al. (2001) Arch. Dermatol. 137, 559-570]. The transcriptomes of placenta, hemangioma, and eight normal and diseased tissues were compared by hierarchical and nonhierarchical clustering analysis of >7,800 genes. We found that the level of transcriptome similarity between placenta and hemangioma exceeded that of any other tissue compared and paralleled that observed between a given tissue and its derived tumor, such as normal and cancerous lung. The degree of similarity was even greater when a subset of endothelial cell-specific genes was analyzed. Genes preferentially expressed in both placenta and hemangiomas were identified, including 17-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 and tissue factor pathway inhibitor 2. These data demonstrate the value of global molecular profiling of tissues as a tool for hypothesis-driven research. Furthermore, it suggests that the unique self-limited growth of infantile hemangioma may, in fact, mirror the lifetime of placental endothelium.
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