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Down syndrome (DS) is caused by triplication of Human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and associated with an array of deleterious phenotypes, including mental retardation, heart defects and immunodeficiency. Genome-wide expression patterns of uncultured peripheral blood cells are useful to understanding of DS-associated immune dysfunction. We used a Human Exon microarray to characterize gene expression in uncultured peripheral blood cells derived from DS individuals and age-matched controls from two age groups: neonate (N) and child (C). A total of 174 transcript clusters (gene-level) with eight located on Hsa21 in N group and 383 transcript clusters including 56 on Hsa21 in C group were significantly dysregulated in DS individuals. Microarray data were validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Functional analysis revealed that the dysregulated genes in DS were significantly enriched in two and six KEGG pathways in N and C group, respectively. These pathways included leukocyte trans-endothelial migration, B cell receptor signaling pathway and primary immunodeficiency, etc., which causally implicated dysfunctional immunity in DS. Our results provided a comprehensive picture of gene expression patterns in DS at the two developmental stages and pointed towards candidate genes and molecular pathways potentially associated with the immune dysfunction in DS.

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This article was published in PLoS ONE, Volume 7, Issue 11.

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