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.