Sunday, 25 March 2012

Analysis of Dupuytren's Cells

So I thought it was about time for another science post, don't worry it is only going to be a short one and is again based on a chapter from the book, Dupuytren's Disease and Hyperproliferative Disorders. C. Eaton et al, Chapter 14.

Right so for those who don't know (I have explained it before but hey and see the picture below from the previous post) DNA is a constant in the cell and it is converted to mRNA in a regulated manner which is then converted into proteins which have an effect.


So one way of analysing cells and differences in them is to look at the levels of mRNA. There is a technique called a Microarray and whilst I will not going into detail here what it basically does is give you a read out of the levels of mRNA for pretty much every gene, so what that means is that you have a read out of how much there is of the things that are responsible for what happens in the cell.

So what they have decided to do in this experiment is to get cells from patients with Dupuytren's disease from healthy and Dupuytren's tissue and they look at what differences there are between the 2 different types of cells using a microarray. This is then repeated, in this case on 20 patients and they look at what mRNAs are at different levels in ALL patients and from this they come up with a list of genes (genes are the DNA that codes for the mRNA) that might be linked to Dupuytren's disease.

They then cut this already small list down to ones that are likely to play a role in the development of Dupuytren's and in particular they are looking at the ones that are likely to play a role in contracture. They come up with several different proteins which I won't go into as they don't mean anything to me but they come up with things that are involved with the extracellular matrix (ECM) which plays an important role in connective tissue and I have mentioned it in my past post along with collagen.

They then go on to basically say that there are some mRNAs that are at a lower level in the disease tissue and this might be linked to the development of contracture but do not speculate as to how and how this might be useful. I guess knowing the cause if the first step towards a sure and this information helps in the understanding of the cause.