The delayed effect of mustard gas on housekeeping gene expression in lung biopsy of chemical injuries

Biochem Biophys Rep. 2017 Apr 20:11:27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrep.2017.04.012. eCollection 2017 Sep.


Objective: Sulfur mustard (SM) was used as a chemical weapon in Iraq-Iran war. Exposed people have major complications in important organs such as pulmonary system. Some studies have shown that SM could affect the expression of endogenous genes and non-housekeeping genes, time dependently. To understand the accurate molecular mechanism of the delayed effect of SM, the identification of the gene expression pattern in these patients is essential. Hence, we have evaluated mRNA expression of four common housekeeping genes (ACTIN, PGK1, β2m, GAPDH) in SM-exposed and non-exposed (control) formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) human lung tissues.

Method: Paraffin block of lung biopsy of SM-exposed people (11 cases) and people without exposure to SM as control group (9 cases) have been selected. The mRNA expression of four endogenous control genes has been evaluated by qRT-PCR. The stability value of each gene was calculated by different methods.

Result: It was found that ACTIN mRNA has the highest expression (30.26±2.87) and PGK1 has the lowest standard deviation (SD) (30.885±2.215) between pooled groups. The best correlation was between ACTIN and PGK1 expressions. The M value has shown that ACTIN and then PGK1 are the most stable housekeeping genes among. The results obtained from the GeNorm and NormFinder have indicated that the pair ACTIN- PGK1 is the most suitable choice for endogenous control genes.

Conclusion: ACTIN and PGK1 genes are stable in studied lung tissues and are the better than two other housekeeping genes. In addition, mustard gas does not affect their expression in long term.

Keywords: FFPE lung tissue; Housekeeping gene; Stability; Sulfur mustard.