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Connect Tissue Res. 2002;43(1):63-75.

Identification of genes differentially expressed in cultured human osteoblasts versus human fibroblasts by DNA microarray analysis.

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Department of Periodontology & Oral Biology, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston University, 100 East Newton Street, G05, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Little is known about patterns of gene expression from cells populating the connective tissues. This study investigated the possible variance of gene expression profile between human osteoblasts (HO) and human fibroblasts (HF) in vitro, using DNA microarray technology. Clustering identification was used to compare expression patterns between HO and HF for biological significance. Our results showed that genes encoding the extracellular matrix or apoptosis-related proteins tended to be expressed in greater abundance in HO, while more proteolysis-related proteins were expressed in higher level in HF. Significant differences in expression were also noted with genes related to signaling pathways. To confirm the array results, three genes (periostin, MFG-E8, MMP-10) were selected and analyzed independently by RT-PCR and northern blot. The results were found consistent with the array data in HO and HF. The present findings suggest that HO and HF differ not only phenotypically but in the expression level of tissue specific genes to assure the turnover and homeostasis of their respective tissues.

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