Thyroid hormone (TH) is crucial for normal brain development. TH transporters control TH homeostasis in brain as evidenced by the complex endocrine and neurological phenotype of patients with mutations in monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8). We investigated the mechanisms of disease by analyzing gene expression profiles in fibroblasts from patients with MCT8 mutations. Studying MCT8 and its transcriptional context in different comprehensive spatial and temporal human brain transcriptome data sets revealed distinct region-specific MCT8 expression. Furthermore, MCT8 demonstrated a clear age-dependent decrease, suggesting its importance in early brain development. Performing comparative transcriptome analysis, we linked the genes differentially expressed (DE) in patient fibroblasts to the human brain transcriptome. DE genes in patient fibroblasts were strongly over-represented among genes highly correlated with MCT8 expression in brain. Furthermore, using the same approach we identified which genes in the classical TH signaling pathway are affected in patients. Finally, we provide evidence that the TRα2 receptor variant is closely connected to MCT8. The present study provides amolecular basis for understanding which pathways are likely affected in the brains of patients with mutations in MCT8. Our data regarding a functional relationship between MCT8 and TRα2 suggest an unanticipated role for TRα2 in the (patho)physiology of TH signaling in the brain. This study demonstrates how genome-wide expression data from patient-derived non-neuronal tissue related to the human brain transcriptome may be successfully employed to improve our understanding of neurological disease.

dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddq337, hdl.handle.net/1765/28158
Human Molecular Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Visser, W.E, Swagemakers, S.M.A, Ozgur, Z, Schot, R, Verheijen, F.W, van IJcken, W.F.J, & van der Spek, P.J. (2010). Transcriptional profiling of fibroblasts from patients with mutations in MCT8 and comparative analysis with the human brain transcriptome. Human Molecular Genetics, 19(21), 4189–4200. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq337