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Am J Pathol. 2011 Oct;179(4):1667-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.06.009. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

Lung gene expression in a rhesus allergic asthma model correlates with physiologic parameters of disease and exhibits common and distinct pathways with human asthma and a mouse asthma model.

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Department of Bioinformatics, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


Experimental nonhuman primate models of asthma exhibit multiple features that are characteristic of an eosinophilic/T helper 2 (Th2)-high asthma subtype, characterized by the increased expression of Th2 cytokines and responsive genes, in humans. Here, we determine the molecular pathways that are present in a house dust mite-induced rhesus asthma model by analyzing the genomewide lung gene expression profile of the rhesus model and comparing it with that of human Th2-high asthma. We find that a prespecified human Th2 inflammation gene set from human Th2-high asthma is also present in rhesus asthma and that the expression of the genes comprising this gene set is positively correlated in human and rhesus asthma. In addition, as in human Th2-high asthma, the Th2 gene set correlates with physiologic markers of allergic inflammation and disease in rhesus asthma. Comparison of lung gene expression profiles from human Th2-high asthma, the rhesus asthma model, and a common mouse asthma model indicates that genes associated with Th2 inflammation are shared by all three species. However, some pathophysiologic aspects of human asthma (ie, subepithelial fibrosis, angiogenesis, neural biology, and immune host defense biology) are better represented in the gene expression profile of the rhesus model than in the mouse model. Further study of the rhesus asthma model may yield novel insights into the pathogenesis of human Th2-high asthma.

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