Expression study of the atherosclerosis mouse aorta reveals significant disturbance of calcium signaling pathway

Solida K Mak, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Atherosclerosis is a complex disease resulting from interactions of genetic and environmental risk factors leading to heart failure and stroke. Using an atherosclerotic mouse model (ldlr-/-, apobec1-/- designated as LDb), we performed microarray analysis to identify candidate genes and pathways, which are most perturbed in changes in the following risk factors: genetics (control C57BL/6 vs. LDb mice), shearstress (lesion-prone vs. lesion-resistant regions in LDb mice), diet (chow vs. high fat fed LDb mice) and age (2-month-old vs. 8-month old LDb mice). Atherosclerotic lesion quantification and lipid profile studies were performed to assess the disease phenotype. A microarray study was performed on lesion-prone and lesion-resistant regions of each aorta. Briefly, 32 male C57BL/6 and LDb mice (n =16/each) were fed on either chow or high fat diet, sacrificed at 2- and 8-months old, and RNA isolated from the aortic lesion-prone and aortic lesion-resistant segments. Using 64 Affymetrix Murine 430 2.0 chips, we profiled differentially expressed genes with the cut off value of FDR ≤ 0.15 for t-test, and q <0.0001 for the ANOVA. The data were normalized using two normalization methods---invariant probe sets (Loess) and Quantile normalization, the statistical analysis was performed using t-tests and ANOVA, and pathway characterization was done using Pathway Express (Wayne State). The result identified the calcium signaling pathway as the most significant overrepresented pathway, followed by focal adhesion. In the calcium signaling pathway, 56 genes were found to be significantly differentially expressed out of 180 genes listed in the KEGG calcium signaling pathway. Nineteen of these genes were consistently identified by both statistical tests, 11 of which were unique to the test, and 26 were unique to the ANOVA test, using the cutoffs noted above. In conclusion, this finding suggested that hypercholesterolemia drives the disease progression by altering the expression of calcium channels and regulators which subsequently results in cell differentiation, growth, adhesion, cytoskeletal change and death. Clinically, this pathway may serve as an important target for future therapeutic intervention, and thus the calcium signaling pathway may serve as an important target for future diagnostic and therapeutic intervention.

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Recommended Citation

Mak, Solida K, "Expression study of the atherosclerosis mouse aorta reveals significant disturbance of calcium signaling pathway" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3256553.