2012 Volume 4, Issue 2, p229-39
The Hedgehog (Hh) pathway is involved in oncogenic transformation and tumor maintenance. The primary objective of this study was to select surrogate tissue to measure messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels of Hh pathway genes for measurement of pharmacodynamic effect. Expression of Hh pathway specific genes was measured by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and global gene expression using Affymetrix U133 microarrays. Correlations were made between the expression of specific genes determined by qRT-PCR and normalized microarray data. Gene ontology analysis using microarray data for a broader set of Hh pathway genes was performed to identify additional Hh pathway-related markers in the surrogate tissue. RNA extracted from blood, hair follicle, and skin obtained from healthy subjects was analyzed by qRT-PCR for 31 genes, whereas 8 samples were analyzed for a 7-gene subset. Twelve sample sets, each with ≤500 ng total RNA derived from hair, skin, and blood, were analyzed using Affymetrix U133 microarrays. Transcripts for several Hh pathway genes were undetectable in blood using qRT-PCR. Skin was the most desirable matrix, followed by hair follicle. Whether processed by robust multiarray average or microarray suite 5 (MAS5), expression patterns of individual samples showed co-clustered signals; both normalization methods were equally effective for unsupervised analysis. The MAS5- normalized probe sets appeared better suited for supervised analysis. This work provides the basis for selection of a surrogate tissue and an expression analysis-based approach to evaluate pathway-related genes as markers of pharmacodynamic effect with novel inhibitors of the Hh pathway.
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