Objectives: To use DNA arrays to identify differences in gene expression associated with relapsing-remitting (RR) MS.
Methods: Total RNA was isolated from monocyte depleted peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 15 RR MS patients and 15 age- and sex-matched controls. The RNA was reverse transcribed to radiolabeled cDNA and the resultant cDNA was used to probe a DNA array containing over 4000 named human genes. The binding of radiolabeled cDNA to the probes on the array was measured by phosphorimager.
Results: Of more than 4000 genes tested, only 34 were significantly different in RR-MS patients from controls. Of these, 25 were significantly increased and 9 significantly decreased in the RR MS patients. Twelve of these genes have inflammatory and/or immunological functions that could be relevant to the MS disease process. The potentially relevant genes that were elevated (15% to 28%) were P protein, LCK, cAMP responsive element modulator, IL-7 receptor, matrix metalloproteinase-19, M130 antigen, and peptidyl-prolyl isomerase. Those that were significantly decreased (15% to 35%) were SAS transmembrane 4 superfamily protein, STRL22 (C-C chemokine receptor 6), AFX protein, DNA fragmentation factor-45 and immunoglobulin gamma 3 (Gm marker).
Conclusions: The RR-MS disease effect was relatively restricted and most of the mRNAs tested were not different from the normal controls. However, there were significant differences identified in the expression of a subset of mRNAs, including 13 with inflammatory/immune functions that could be relevant to MS. The systematic use of DNA arrays can provide insight into the dynamic cellular pathways involved in MS pathogenesis and its phenotypic heterogeneity.