No differential gene expression for CD4 + T cells of MS patients and healthy controls

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2019 Jun 13;5(2):2055217319856903. doi: 10.1177/2055217319856903. eCollection Apr-Jun 2019.


Background: Multiple sclerosis-associated genetic variants indicate that the adaptive immune system plays an important role in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. It is currently not well understood how these multiple sclerosis-associated genetic variants contribute to multiple sclerosis risk. CD4+ T cells are suggested to be involved in multiple sclerosis disease processes.

Objective: We aim to identify CD4+ T cell differential gene expression between multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls in order to understand better the role of these cells in multiple sclerosis.

Methods: We applied RNA sequencing on CD4+ T cells from multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls.

Results: We did not identify significantly differentially expressed genes in CD4+ T cells from multiple sclerosis patients. Furthermore, pathway analyses did not identify enrichment for specific pathways in multiple sclerosis. When we investigated genes near multiple sclerosis-associated genetic variants, we did not observe significant enrichment of differentially expressed genes.

Conclusion: We conclude that CD4+ T cells from multiple sclerosis patients do not show significant differential gene expression. Therefore, gene expression studies of all circulating CD4+ T cells may not result in viable biomarkers. Gene expression studies of more specific subsets of CD4+ T cells remain justified to understand better which CD4+ T cell subsets contribute to multiple sclerosis pathology.

Keywords: CD4+ T cells; Genetics; RNA sequencing; gene expression; multiple sclerosis.