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J Surg Res. 2001 Aug;99(2):222-7.

Effects of ischemia on gene expression.

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Department of Surgery and Biostatistics, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33647, USA.


Microarray gene expression technology has recently made it feasible to characterize the RNA expression of thousands of genes across numerous tissue samples. We hypothesized that the warm ischemia commonly associated with the surgical extirpation of human tissue would have significant effects on gene expression profiles. To quantitate the effects of warm ischemia on human tissue, we rapidly dissected normal mucosa from a human colon cancer specimen. The specimen was divided and maintained at room temperature until snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen. Aliquots of tissue were frozen at times 5, 10, 15, 20, 40, and 60 min after extirpation. Spotted microarrays composed of 2400 distinct elements were used to assay mRNA derived from each time point in triplicate. Eisen's hierarchical clustering methodology and Bayesean statistical methods were then used to assay the effects of warm ischemia on gene expression. Application of time-course statistical models suggest that three patterns were induced by ischemia, accounting for 68.2, 17.8, and 13.4% of the evaluable genes, respectively. Pattern I corresponds to an average change of 27% over 60 min from 5 min baseline level of expression and 63.8% of the genes with at least 80% probability of membership in this pattern show average increases in expression over 60 min. The remainder decrease on average. Pattern II genes show the least ischemia-related effects, demonstrating an average change of only 12% over 60 min. In contrast to pattern I, we find that 67.5% of the genes with at least 80% probability of membership in this pattern are decreasing in expression on average over time. The remaining 32.5% in this pattern increase an average of 12% over 60 min. Finally, pattern III genes (13.4% of the sample) show the greatest sensitivity to ischemia, changing an average of 50% over 60 min, with about the same number increasing as are decreasing. Fold changes in RNA over- or under-expression were observed up to greater than 20-fold. Warm ischemia associated with the surgical extirpation of human tissues has significant effects on gene expression. These data support the careful monitoring of ischemic time for tissues harvested for the purpose of gene profiling.

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