Validation of reference genes for the relative quantification of gene expression in human epicardial adipose tissue

PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e32265. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032265. Epub 2012 Apr 12.


Background: Relative quantification is a commonly used method for assessing gene expression, however its accuracy and reliability is dependent upon the choice of an optimal endogenous control gene, and such choice cannot be made a priori. There is limited information available on suitable reference genes to be used for studies involving human epicardial adipose tissue. The objective of the current study was to evaluate and identify optimal reference genes for use in the relative quantification of gene expression in human epicardial fat depots of lean, overweight and obese subjects.

Methodology/principal findings: Some of the commonly used reference genes including 18S, ACTB, RPL27, HPRT, CYCA, GAPDH, RPLPO, POLR2A and B2M were quantified using real-time PCR analysis. The expression stability of these genes was evaluated using Genorm, Normfinder and Bestkeeper algorithms. In addition, the effect of sample size on the validation process was studied by randomly categorizing subjects in two cohorts of n = 2 and n = 33.

Conclusions/significance: CYCA, GAPDH and RPL27 were identified as the most stable genes common to all three algorithms and both sample sizes. Their use as reference gene pairs might contribute to the enhanced robustness of relative quantification in the studies involving the human epicardial adipose tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Algorithms
  • Cohort Studies
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (NADP+) / genetics
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (NADP+) / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / genetics
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Peptidylprolyl Isomerase / genetics
  • Peptidylprolyl Isomerase / metabolism
  • Pericardium / metabolism*
  • RNA Polymerase I / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase I / metabolism
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reference Values
  • Ribosomal Proteins / genetics
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism
  • Software
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / genetics
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / metabolism


  • Actins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • ribosomal protein P0
  • ribosomal proteins L27
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (NADP+)
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • RNA Polymerase I
  • Peptidylprolyl Isomerase