Gene-expression signatures differ between different clinical forms of familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis

Janos Sumegi, Shawnagay V. Nestheide, Michael G. Barnes, Joyce Villanueva, Kejian Zhang, Alexei A. Grom, Alexandra H. Filipovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We performed gene-expression profiling of PBMCs obtained from patients with familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (FHL) to screen for biologic correlates with the genetic and/or clinical forms of this disease. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of 167 differentially expressed probe sets, representing 143 genes, identified 3 groups of patients corresponding to the genetic forms and clinical presentations of the disease. Two clusters of up-and down-regulated genes separated patients with perforin-deficient FHL from those with unidentified genetic cause(s) of the disease. The clusterscomprised genes involved in defense/immune responses, apoptosis, zinc homeostasis, and systemic inflammation. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering partitioned patients with unknown genetic cause(s) of FHL into 2 well-distinguished subgroups. Patterns of up-and down-regulated genes separated patients with "late-onset" and "relapsing" forms of FHL from patients with an "early onset and rapidly evolving" form of the disease. A cluster was identified in patients with "late onset and relapsing" form of FHL related to B-and T-cell differentiation/survival, T-cell activation, and vesicular transport. The resulting data suggest that unique gene-expression signatures can distinguish between genetic and clinical subtypes of FHL. These differentially expressed genes may represent biomarkers that can be used as predictors of disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e14-e24
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 14 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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