Human autoimmune diseases arise from complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors, result from immune attack upon target tissues, and affect 3-5% of the population. We compared gene expression profiles (>4000 genes) in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of normal individuals after immunization to individuals with four different autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and multiple sclerosis). All autoimmune individuals, including unaffected first-degree relatives, share a common gene expression profile that is completely distinct from the immune profile. Therefore, this expression pattern is not simply a recapitulation of the immune response to nonself, is not a result of the disease process, and results, as least in part, from genetic factors. Surprisingly, these genes are clustered in chromosomal domains suggesting there is some genomewide logic to this unique expression pattern. These data argue that that there is a constant pattern of gene expression in autoimmunity that is independent of the specific autoimmune disease and clinical parameters associated with any individual autoimmune disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology