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Monitoring Expression Of Genes Involved In Drug Metabolism And Toxicology Using DNA Microarrays

DAVID GERHOLD, MEIQING LU, JIAN XU, CHRISTOPHER AUSTIN, C. THOMAS CASKEY, THOMAS RUSHMORE

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Oligonucleotide DNA microarrays were investigated for utility in measuring global expression profiles of drug metabolism genes. This study was performed to investigate the feasibility of using microarray technology to minimize the long, expensive process of testing drug candidates for safety in animals. In an evaluation of hybridization specificity, microarray technology from Affymetrix distinguished genes up to a threshold of ∼90% DNA identity. Oligonucleotides representing human cytochrome P-450 gene CYP3A5 showed heterologous hybridization to CYP3A4 and CYP3A7 RNAs. These genes could be clearly distinguished by selecting a subset of oligonucleotides that hybridized selectively to CYP3A5. Further validation of the technology was performed by measuring gene expression profiles in livers of rats treated with vehicle, 3-methylcholanthrene (3MC), phenobarbital, dexamethasone, or clofibrate and by confirming data for six genes using quantitative RT-PCR. Responses of drug metabolism genes, including CYPs, epoxide hydrolases ( EHs), UDP-glucuronosyl transferases ( UGTs), glutathione sulfotransferases ( GSTs), sulfotransferases ( STs), drug transporter genes, and peroxisomal genes, to these well-studied compounds agreed well with, and extended, published observations. Additional gene regulatory responses were noted that characterize metabolic effects or stress responses to these compounds. Thus microarray technology can provide a facile overview of gene expression responses relevant to drug metabolism and toxicology.