Genetic endothelial systems biology of sickle stroke risk

Vascular Biology Center and Division of Hematology-Oncology-Transplantation, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, and Minneapolis Children's Hospital 55455, USA.
Blood (Impact Factor: 9.78). 05/2008; 111(7):3872-9. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2007-06-097188
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genetic differences in endothelial biology could underlie development of phenotypic heterogeneity among persons afflicted with vascular diseases. We obtained blood outgrowth endothelial cells from 20 subjects with sickle cell anemia (age, 4-19 years) shown to be either at-risk (n=11) or not-at-risk (n=9) for ischemic stroke because of, respectively, having or not having occlusive disease at the circle of Willis. Gene expression profiling identified no significant single gene differences between the 2 groups, as expected. However, analysis of Biological Systems Scores, using gene sets that were predetermined to survey each of 9 biologic systems, showed that only changes in inflammation signaling are characteristic of the at-risk subjects, as supported by multiple statistical approaches. Correspondingly, subsequent biologic testing showed significantly exaggerated RelA activation on the part of blood outgrowth endothelial cells from the at-risk subjects in response to stimulation with interleukin-1beta/tumor necrosis factoralpha. We conclude that the pathobiology of circle of Willis disease in the child with sickle cell anemia predominantly involves inflammation biology, which could reflect differences in genetically determined endothelial biology that account for differing host responses to inflammation.

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