Background: To elucidate further the pathogenesis of sporadic, idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and identify potential therapeutic avenues, differential gene expression in IPAH was examined by suppression subtractive hybridisation (SSH).
Methods: Peripheral lung samples were obtained immediately after removal from patients undergoing lung transplant for IPAH without familial disease, and control tissues consisted of similarly sampled pieces of donor lungs not utilised during transplantation. Pools of lung mRNA from IPAH cases containing plexiform lesions and normal donor lungs were used to generate the tester and driver cDNA libraries, respectively. A subtracted IPAH cDNA library was made by SSH. Clones isolated from this subtracted library were examined for up regulated expression in IPAH using dot blot arrays of positive colony PCR products using both pooled cDNA libraries as probes. Clones verified as being upregulated were sequenced. For two genes the increase in expression was verified by northern blotting and data analysed using Student's unpaired two-tailed t-test.
Results: We present preliminary findings concerning candidate genes upregulated in IPAH. Twenty-seven upregulated genes were identified out of 192 clones examined. Upregulation in individual cases of IPAH was shown by northern blot for tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 and decorin (P < 0.01) compared with the housekeeping gene glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase.
Conclusion: Four of the up regulated genes, magic roundabout, hevin, thrombomodulin and sucrose non-fermenting protein-related kinase-1 are expressed specifically by endothelial cells and one, muscleblind-1, by muscle cells, suggesting that they may be associated with plexiform lesions and hypertrophic arterial wall remodelling, respectively.