The molecular characterization of changes in mRNA expression in renal tissue during disease is hampered by the acquisition of sufficient mRNA to do genomewide expression profiling. In many renal diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, IgA nephropathy, antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) associated glomerulonephritis, and small-vessel vasculitis (ANCA disease), circulating leukocytes play a role in onset, progression, and severity of the condition. Circulating leukocytes are readily isolated and supply sufficient mRNA for analysis, allowing molecular investigation into their involvement in the disease process. Our laboratory has undertaken a systematic study of the genomewide expression profiles of the circulating leukocytes from patients with a variety of renal diseases (ANCA disease, IgA nephropathy, lupus nephritis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis), using the Affymetrix high-density gene chip array technology. Analysis of the data showed clustering of expressed genes unique for each individual disease group. These results imply that significant gene expression changes occur in leukocytes that are circulating in patients with renal diseases. In addition, gene expression has been studied in leukocytes activated in vitro by mechanisms that mimic pathogenic events in vivo. The expression levels of genes identified in in vitro studies were compared with the patient leukocyte gene expression to determine whether similar pathological events were occurring in vivo.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel