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Systems Genetics Approach to Biomarker Discovery: GPNMB and Heart Failure in Mice and Humans.


We describe a simple bioinformatics method for biomarker discovery that is based on the analysis of global transcript levels in a population of inbred mouse strains showing variation for disease-related traits. This method has advantages such as controlled environment and accessibility to heart and plasma tissue in the preclinical selection stage. We illustrate the approach by identifying candidate heart failure (HF) biomarkers by overlaying mouse transcriptome and clinical traits from 91 Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel (HMDP) inbred strains and human HF transcriptome from the Myocardial Applied Genomics Network (MAGNet) consortium. We found that some of the top differentially expressed genes correlated with known human HF biomarkers, such as galectin-3 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1. Using ELISA assays, we investigated one novel candidate, Glycoprotein NMB, in a mouse model of chronic β-adrenergic stimulation by isoproterenol (ISO) induced HF. We observed significantly lower GPNMB plasma levels in the ISO model compared to the control group (p-value = 0.007). In addition, we assessed GPNMB plasma levels among 389 HF cases and controls from the METabolic Syndrome In Men (METSIM) study. Lower levels of GPNMB were also observed in patients with HF from the METSIM study compared to non-HF controls (p-value < 0.0001). In summary, we have identified several candidate biomarkers for HF using the cardiac transcriptome data in a population of mice that may be directly relevant and applicable to human populations.

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