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Prion disease induced alterations in gene expression in spleen and brain prior to clinical symptoms

Authors Kim HO, Snyder GP, Blazey TM, Race RE, Chesebro B, Skinner PJ

Published 7 September 2008 Volume 2008:1 Pages 29—50


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Peer reviewer comments 2

Hyeon O Kim1, Greg P Snyder1, Tyler M Blazey1, Richard E Race2, Bruce Chesebro2, Pamela J Skinner1

1Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, USA; 2NIH Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana, USA

Abstract: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that affect animals and humans. There is a need to gain understanding of prion disease pathogenesis and to develop diagnostic assays to detect prion diseases prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. The goal of this study was to identify genes that show altered expression early in the disease process in the spleen and brain of prion disease-infected mice. Using Affymetrix microarrays, we identified 67 genes that showed increased expression in the brains of prion disease-infected mice prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. These genes function in many cellular processes including immunity, the endosome/lysosome system, hormone activity, and the cytoskeleton. We confirmed a subset of these gene expression alterations using other methods and determined the time course in which these changes occur. We also identified 14 genes showing altered expression prior to the onset of clinical symptoms in spleens of prion disease infected mice. Interestingly, four genes, Atp1b1, Gh, Anp32a, and Grn, were altered at the very early time of 46 days post-infection. These gene expression alterations provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying prion disease pathogenesis and may serve as surrogate markers for the early detection and diagnosis of prion disease.

Keywords: prion disease, microarrays, gene expression

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