Gene expression profile of patients with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome: new insights into the potential role of developmental pathways

Nodale C, Ceccarelli S, Giuliano M, Cammarota M, D\\\'Amici S, Vescarelli E1, Maffucci D3, Bellati F, Panici PB3, Romano F, Angeloni A, Marchese C.
Source: PLoS ONE
Publication Date: (2014)
Issue: 9(3): e91010
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Epithelial, vaginal, human
Species: human
Tissue Origin:
Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKHS) is a rare disease characterized by congenital aplasia of uterus and vagina. Although many studies have investigated several candidate genes, up to now none of them seem to be responsible for the aetiology of the syndrome. In our study, we identified differences in gene expression profile of in vitro cultured vaginal tissue of MRHKS patients using whole-genome microarray analysis. A group of eight out of sixteen MRKHS patients that underwent reconstruction of neovagina with an autologous in vitro cultured vaginal tissue were subjected to microarray analysis and compared with five healthy controls. Results obtained by array were confirmed by qRT-PCR and further extended to other eight MRKHS patients. Gene profiling of MRKHS patients delineated 275 differentially expressed genes, of which 133 downregulated and 142 upregulated. We selected six deregulated genes (MUC1, HOXC8, HOXB2, HOXB5, JAG1 and DLL1) on the basis of their fold change, their differential expression in most patients and their relevant role in embryological development. All patients showed upregulation of MUC1, while HOXB2 and HOXB5 were downregulated, as well as Notch ligands JAG1 and DLL1 in the majority of them. Interestingly, HOXC8 was significantly upregulated in 47% of patients, with a differential expression only in MRKHS type I patients. Taken together, our results highlighted the dysregulation of developmental genes, thus suggesting a potential alteration of networks involved in the formation of the female reproductive tract and providing a useful clue for understanding the pathophysiology of MRKHS.