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Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis skin demonstrates distinct molecular subsets separated by a cardiovascular development gene expression signature

Derrett-Smith, EC; Martyanov, V; Chighizola, CB; Moinzadeh, P; Campochiaro, C; Khan, K; Wood, TA; ... Denton, CP; + view all (2017) Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis skin demonstrates distinct molecular subsets separated by a cardiovascular development gene expression signature. Arthritis Research & Therapy , 19 , Article 156. 10.1186/s13075-017-1360-7. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma) is an uncommon autoimmune rheumatic disease characterised by autoimmunity, vasculopathy and fibrosis. Gene expression profiling distinguishes scleroderma from normal skin, and can detect different subsets of disease, with potential to identify prognostic biomarkers of organ involvement or response to therapy. We have performed gene expression profiling in skin samples from patients with limited cutaneous SSc (lcSSc). METHODS: Total RNA was extracted from clinically uninvolved skin biopsies of 15 patients with lcSSc and 8 healthy controls (HC). Gene expression profiling was performed on a DNA oligonucleotide microarray chip. Differentially expressed genes (DEG) were identified using significance analysis of microarrays (SAM). Functional enrichment analysis of gene signatures was done via g:Profiler. RESULTS: There were 218 DEG between lcSSc and HC samples (false discovery rate <10%): 181/218 DEG were upregulated in lcSSc samples. Hierarchical clustering of DEG suggested the presence of two separate groups of lcSSc samples: "limited 1" and "limited 2". The limited-1 group (13 samples, 10 unique patients) showed upregulation of genes involved in cell adhesion, cardiovascular system (CVS) development, extracellular matrix and immune and inflammatory response. The CVS development signature was of particular interest as its genes showed very strong enrichment in response to wounding, response to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and kinase cascade. Neither limited-2 samples (six samples, five unique patients) nor HC samples showed functional enrichment. There were no significant differences in demographic or clinical parameters between these two groups. These results were confirmed using a second independent cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests the presence of molecular subsets in lcSSc based on gene expression profiling of biopsies from uninvolved skin. This may reflect important differences in pathogenesis within these patient groups. We identify differential expression of a subset of genes that relate to CVS and are enriched in fibrotic signalling. This may shed light on mechanisms of vascular disease in SSc. The enrichment in profibrotic profile suggests that dysregulated gene expression may contribute to vasculopathy and fibrosis in different disease subsets.

Type: Article
Title: Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis skin demonstrates distinct molecular subsets separated by a cardiovascular development gene expression signature
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13075-017-1360-7
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-017-1360-7
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s). 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Genetics, Microarray, Scleroderma, Systemic sclerosis, Vasculopathy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Inflammation
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Inst for Liver and Digestive Hlth
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1563681
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