Global Gene Expression Profiles and Proteomic Assessments in Adult Females with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a complex disorder characterized by repetitive bouts of upper airway collapse during sleep, causing subsequent intermittent hypoxia, hypercapnia, and fragmented sleep and is also associated with significant morbidity including daytime sleepiness, hypertension, and elevated cardiovascular risk. OSAS affects at least 4% of men and 2% of women; unfortunately, it is estimated that 80% to 90% of adults with OSAS remain undiagnosed. Both clinical characteristics and complex genetic and environmental interactions have made it difficult to understand OSAS disease etiology and identifying patients at risk is still elusive. A pattern of gene expression in cells or tissues related to a disease state for OSAS would provide beneficial information to be most effective in screening or diagnosing this disease.
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to: 1) map out the study design and bench assay strategies by which to investigate this issue; 2) find out if there are specific differences in the global gene expression profiles of adult females with OSAS compared to those without OSAS, under conditions in which subjects were clinically similar (BMI, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.); and 3) assess the protein expression differences that could potentially be linked via well-established molecular pathways associated with any differences found in global gene expression profiles in the presence and absence of OSAS.
Methods: Subjects were overweight premenopausal Caucasian women with untreated OSAS (n=6; age = 40.7 ± 3.4; BMI = 49.04 ± 6.97; apnea-hypopnea index = 27.3 ± 16.02), and control subjects (n=10) (age = 38.2 ± 7.6; BMI = 47.94 ± 6.15; apnea-hypopnea index < 5), and matched for other clinical characteristics (diabetes, cardiovascular disease status, medications, etc.) recruited from either Carilion Clinic Pulmonary/Sleep Medicine or Carilion Clinic Bariatric Surgery practices. Subjects provided a fasting blood sample in which the monocytes were isolated from whole blood. The RNA was extracted from the monocytes, assessed for purity and quantity, frozen and shipped to collaborators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and hybridized to Affymetrix whole human genome chips on a gene chip. The initial computational evaluation and interpretation generated the hypothesis. Two-step quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed to verify the results from the microarray analysis. The laminin enzyme immunoassay (EIA), and cellular adhesion assays were performed to determine if genomic changes resulted in proteomic and phenotypic assessments.
Results: OSAS subjects had nine aberrantly regulated genes, of which three genes (LAMC-1, CDC42, and TACSTD2) showed a pattern in segregation between OSAS and controls subjects based on expression patterns. In addition, qPCR indicated a 2.1 fold increase in LAMC-1 and a 1.1 fold increase CDC42 expression unique to the tissue samples of patients with OSAS. Though the serum laminin EIA did not differ between groups, a statistically significant increase in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) cellular adhesion in OSAS patients versus control subjects was found. The OSAS subjects had a well cell count of 9.27 ± 1.54 cells vs. controls 5.75 ± 0.78 cells (p Ë‚ 0.05), which is relative to the 103 cells/field that were plated.
Conclusions: Cells isolated from women with moderate-severe OSAS show an abnormality in cellular adhesion, a process driven in part by the gene LAMC-1, which was also aberrantly expressed in these subjects. This suggests that inflammation may be linked to the pathogenesis of OSAS. This pilot study has provided the framework and preliminary data needed to propose a larger study with extramural research funding.