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Toxicol Sci. 2005 Sep;87(1):306-14. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Comparison of non-human primate and human whole blood tissue gene expression profiles.

Author information

  • 1Applied Pharmacology Branch, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21010-5400, USA.

Erratum in

  • Toxicol Sci. 2005 Dec;88(2):656.


Gene expression profiling is an important tool in the development of medical countermeasures against chemical warfare agents (CWAs). Non-human primates (NHPs), specifically the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), the cynomologus macaque (Macaca fascicularis), and the African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops), are vital models in the development of CWA prophylactics, therapeutics, and diagnostics. However, gene expression profiling of these NHPs is complicated by the fact their genomes are not completely sequenced, and that no commercially available oligonucleotide microarrays (genechips) exist. We, therefore, sought to determine whether gene expression profiling of NHPs could be performed using human genechips. Whole blood RNA was isolated from each species and used to generate genechip probes. Hybridization of the NHP samples to human genechips (Affymetrix Human U133 Plus 2.0) resulted in comparable numbers of transcripts detected compared with human samples. Statistical analysis revealed intraspecies reproducibility of genechip quality control metrics; interspecies comparison between NHPs and humans showed little significant difference in the quality and reproducibility of data generated using human genechips. Expression profiles of each species were compared using principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical clustering to determine the similarity of the expression profiles within and across the species. The cynomologus group showed the least intraspecies variability, and the human group showed the greatest intraspecies variability. Intraspecies comparison of the expression profiles identified probe sets that were reproducibly detected within each species. Each NHP species was found to be dissimilar to humans; the cynomologus group was the most dissimilar. Interspecies comparison of the expression profiles revealed probe sets that were reproducibly detected in all species examined. These results show that human genechips can be used for expression profiling of NHP samples and provide a foundation for the development of tools for comparing human and NHP gene expression profiles.

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