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Peripheral blood mononuclear cell gene expression in healthy adults rapidly transported to high altitude

Authors Herman N, Grill D, Anderson P, Miller A, Johnson J, O'Malley K, Ceridon Richert M, Johnson B

Received 25 April 2014

Accepted for publication 17 June 2014

Published 16 December 2014 Volume 2015:5 Pages 1—9

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AGG.S66784

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Nicole M Herman,1 Diane E Grill,2 Paul J Anderson,1 Andrew D Miller,1 Jacob B Johnson,1 Kathy A O’Malley,1 Maile L Ceridon Richert,1 Bruce D Johnson1

1Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, 2Department of Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN, USA

Abstract: Although mechanisms of high altitude illness have been studied extensively, the processes behind the development of these conditions are still unclear. Few genome-wide studies on rapid exposure to high altitude have been performed. Each year, scientists and support workers are transferred by plane from McMurdo Station in Antarctica (sea level) to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station at 2,835 meters. This uniform and rapid transfer to altitude provides a unique opportunity to study the effects of hypobaric hypoxia on gene expression that may help illustrate the body's adaptations to these conditions. We hypothesized that an extensive number of genes would change with rapid exposure to altitude and further expected that these genes would correspond to inflammatory pathways proposed as a mechanism in development of acute mountain sickness. Peripheral venous blood samples were drawn from 98 healthy subjects at sea level and again on day two at altitude. Microarray analysis was performed on these samples. In total, 1,118 probe sets with significant P-values and fold changes (90% upregulated) were identified and entered into MetaCore™ software. Several pathways, including oxidative phosphorylation, cytoskeleton remodeling, and platelet aggregation, were significantly represented by the data set and all were upregulated. Many genes changed expression, and the vast majority of these increased. Increased metabolism in peripheral blood mononuclear cells suggests increased inflammatory activity.

Keywords: peripheral blood mononuclear cells, microarray, gene expression, acute mountain sickness

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