A new tool for rheumatology: large-scale analysis of gene expression

Joint Bone Spine. 2003 Aug;70(4):248-56. doi: 10.1016/s1297-319x(03)00034-4.


Large-scale analysis of gene expression with cDNA arrays is spreading over many biological fields, including rheumatology. In this report, we wish to explain the principle and main advantages of this tool in the context of our discipline. Until 1995, analysis of gene expression was conducted for a few genes at a time but DNA chips now allow one to monitor the expression of thousands of genes in a single experiment and analyze the transcriptome, i.e. the whole of the transcripts in a given cell or tissue. Whatever the platform used (macro- or microarrays, oligo-chips), this technology rests upon the hybridization of i) a set of cDNA clones tethered to a solid support (nylon or glass) as probes, and ii) labelled cDNAs that are reverse-transcribed from bulk mRNAs extracted from a cell or tissue sample as a target. The end result is information on the relative abundance of every mRNA between two or more samples. The transcriptome analysis has two main objectives in rheumatology: i) identifying a gene expression profile that is a hallmark of a pathology and using it for a diagnostic or prognostic purpose, and ii) gathering genes with similar changes of expression, which allows one to specify the identity of novel proteins involved in a well-known intracellular cascade of regulation or even to identify new cascades.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteomics
  • Rheumatology / methods*
  • Transcription, Genetic