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Physiol Genomics. 2006 Jun 16;26(1):91-8. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

Effect of moderate hypothermia on gene expression by THP-1 cells: a DNA microarray study.

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Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Massachusetts, USA.


The mechanisms by which moderate hypothermia (32 degrees C for 12-72 h) affect human cellular function are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that it produces broad changes in mRNA expression in vitro. Acute monocytic leukemia (THP-1) cells were incubated under control conditions (37 degrees C) or moderate hypothermia (32 degrees C) for 24 h. RNA was extracted, and the hypothermic response was confirmed by examining the expression of the cold-induced RNA-binding protein (CIRBP) gene by RT-PCR. Gene expression analysis was performed on seven sets of paired samples with Affymetrix U133A chips using established statistical methods. Sequences were considered affected by cold if they showed statistically significant changes in expression and also met published post hoc filter criteria (changes in geometric mean expression of > or =2-fold and expression calls of "present" or "marginal" in at least half of the experiments). Changes in the expression of selected sequences were further confirmed by PCR. Sixty-seven sequences met the criteria for increased expression (including cold-inducible genes CIRBP and RNA binding motif 3), and 100 sequences showed decreased expression as a result of hypothermia. Functional categories affected by hypothermia included genes involved in immune responses; cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation; and metabolism and biosynthesis. Several heat shock proteins (HSPs) showed decreases in expression. Moderate hypothermia produces substantial changes in gene expression, in categories potentially of systemic importance. Cold exposure without rewarming decreased the expression of several HSPs. These in vitro findings suggest that prolonged hypothermia in vivo might be capable of producing physiologically relevant changes in gene expression by circulating leukocytes.

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