Platelets play a major role in the pathophysiology of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Recent evidence reveals megakaryocyte-derived platelet pre-mRNA is spliced to mRNA and then translated into functional proteins in response to external stimulation. An exon microarray analyzes pre-mRNA alternative splicing and is thus applicable for studying gene expression in the anucleate platelet. We hypothesized a subset of megakaryocyte/platelet genes exists that are significantly over or underexpressed in AMI compared with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), yielding a gene expression profile for further study. Microarray analysis employing platelet mRNA was used to generate gene expression data in the above two patient groups. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering has revealed an expression profile that includes 95 over- or under-expressed genes depicted in a heat map where separation of both sets takes place. This preliminary study reveals a platelet-based gene expression signature that differentiates between AMI and stable CAD, and further study may yield a prognostic tool for a future AMI event in atherosclerosis risk factor-based subsets of CAD patients.
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