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Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2019 Jun 13;5(2):2055217319856903. doi: 10.1177/2055217319856903. eCollection 2019 Apr-Jun.

No differential gene expression for CD4+ T cells of MS patients and healthy controls.

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Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.
Department of Neurology, Oslo University Hospital, Norway.
Computational Biology Graduate Group, University of California, USA.
Genetic Epidemiology and Genomics Laboratory, University of California, USA.
Institute of Mechanical, Electronics and Chemical Engineering, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway.



Multiple sclerosis-associated genetic variants indicate that the adaptive immune system plays an important role in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. It is currently not well understood how these multiple sclerosis-associated genetic variants contribute to multiple sclerosis risk. CD4+ T cells are suggested to be involved in multiple sclerosis disease processes.


We aim to identify CD4+ T cell differential gene expression between multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls in order to understand better the role of these cells in multiple sclerosis.


We applied RNA sequencing on CD4+ T cells from multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls.


We did not identify significantly differentially expressed genes in CD4+ T cells from multiple sclerosis patients. Furthermore, pathway analyses did not identify enrichment for specific pathways in multiple sclerosis. When we investigated genes near multiple sclerosis-associated genetic variants, we did not observe significant enrichment of differentially expressed genes.


We conclude that CD4+ T cells from multiple sclerosis patients do not show significant differential gene expression. Therefore, gene expression studies of all circulating CD4+ T cells may not result in viable biomarkers. Gene expression studies of more specific subsets of CD4+ T cells remain justified to understand better which CD4+ T cell subsets contribute to multiple sclerosis pathology.


CD4+ T cells; Genetics; RNA sequencing; gene expression; multiple sclerosis

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