Differential gene expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients may discriminate immunogenetic, pathogenic and treatment features

Immunology. 2009 Jul;127(3):365-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2008.03005.x. Epub 2008 Dec 17.


This study aimed to evaluate the association between the differential gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells of rheumatoid arthritis patients with their immunogenetic (human leucocyte antigen shared-epitope, HLA-SE), autoimmune response [anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibodies], disease activity score (DAS-28) and treatment (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and tumour necrosis factor blocker) features. Total RNA samples were copied into Cy3-labelled complementary DNA probes, hybridized onto a glass slide microarray containing 4500 human IMAGE complementary DNA target sequences. The Cy3-monocolour microarray images from patients were quantified and normalized. Analysis of the data using the significance analysis of microarrays algorithm together with a Venn diagram allowed the identification of shared and of exclusively modulated genes, according to patient features. Thirteen genes were exclusively associated with the presence of HLA-SE alleles, whose major biological function was related to signal transduction, phosphorylation and apoptosis. Ninety-one genes were associated with disease activity, being involved in signal transduction, apoptosis, response to stress and DNA damage. One hundred and one genes were associated with the presence of anti-CCP antibodies, being involved in signal transduction, cell proliferation and apoptosis. Twenty-eight genes were associated with tumour necrosis factor blocker treatment, being involved in intracellular signalling cascade, phosphorylation and protein transport. Some of these genes had been previously associated with rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis, whereas others were unveiled for future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / methods
  • Peptides, Cyclic / immunology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Autoantibodies
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • cyclic citrullinated peptide