Gene arrays and temporal patterns of drug response: corticosteroid effects on rat liver

Funct Integr Genomics. 2003 Dec;3(4):171-9. doi: 10.1007/s10142-003-0090-x. Epub 2003 Aug 20.


It was hypothesized that expression profiling using gene arrays can be used to distinguish temporal patterns of changes in gene expression in response to a drug in vivo, and that these patterns can be used to identify groups of genes regulated by common mechanisms. A corticosteroid, methylprednisolone (MPL), was administered intravenously to a group of 47 rats ( Rattus rattus) that were sacrificed at 17 timepoints over 72 h after MPL administration. Plasma drug concentrations and hepatic glucocorticoid receptors were measured from each animal. In addition, RNAs prepared from individual livers were used to query Affymetrix genechips for mRNA expression patterns. Statistical analyses using Affymetrix and GeneSpring software were applied to the results. Cluster analysis revealed six major temporal patterns containing 196 corticosteroid-responsive probe sets representing 153 different genes. Four clusters showed increased expression with differences in lag-time, onset rate, and/or duration of transcriptional effect. A fifth cluster showed rapid reduction persisting for 18 h. The final cluster identified showed decreased expression followed by an extended period of increased expression. These results lend new insights into the diverse hepatic genes involved in the physiologic, therapeutic, and adverse effects of corticosteroids and suggest that a limited array of control processes account for the dynamics of their pharmacogenomic effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / blood
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gene Expression / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / blood
  • Methylprednisolone / pharmacology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Glucocorticoids
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Methylprednisolone