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The Scandinavian Society for Immunology (SSI) includes the national immunological societies of the 5 Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. SSI has currently >1000 members.


Selected articles January 2016



Association between childhood asthma and the expression of functional markers by mDCs


Circulating Dendritic Cells, Farm Exposure and Asthma at Early Age

H. Kääriö, J. K. Nieminen, A. M. Karvonen, K. Huttunen, P. C. Schröder, O. Vaarala, E.


In this study, a group of Finnish researchers for the first time describe phenotype and functional properties of circulating dendritic cells in association with asthma and farm exposure at 4.5 year old children.


The aim of the investigation was to explore where asthma and farm exposures are associate with the proportions and functional properties of dendritic cells from 4.5 year-old children in a subgroup of the Finnish PASTURE birth cohort study.


Farm exposure in early childhood is known to protect from childhood asthma and allergies, suggesting effects on the maturing immune system. Here, the researchers suggest an association between childhood asthma and the expression of functional markers by myeloid dendritic cells. Farm exposure may have immunomodulatory effects by decreasing mDC proportions.


Heidi Kääriö was a PhD student in the group during the course of this study.


My main responsibilities during this study were laboratory work, data analysis and writing the manuscript, so basically all but sample collection, she says.


Heidi Kääriö defended her thesis, where this paper is included, in December last year.


Thinking about this study this as a part of my thesis the main finding was definitely the lower myeloid dendritic cell-proportions of farm children when compared to non-farm children, she says.


Heidi Kääriö enjoyed designing the laboratory analyses.


But later, when I was writing my thesis, the most fun part was to realize that this publication is really part of the bigger picture going on here.


All in all, this study provides important insights for the future studies investigating underlying immunological mechanisms of farm-related asthma-protection.




Reference genes for qPCR


Identification of Suitable Reference Genes for Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Subset Studies in Multiple Sclerosis

D. B. Oturai, H. B. Søndergaard, L. Börnsen, F. Sellebjerg and J. Romme Christensen


Here, a group of researchers from Copenhagen, Denmark, have identified suitable reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR studies using different peripheral blood cell subsets from patents with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, interferon-beta-treated patiens with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and healthy controls.


Determination of gene expression in different cells or tissues using quantitative real-time PCR is today an essential method in understanding many biological and pathological mechanisms. The application of a reliable reference gene (constitutively active, endogenous gene) is a prerequisite to obtain correct estimations of target gene expression.


Jeppe Romme Christensen, MD, PhD is a post doc at the Department of Neurology at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital and he conceptualized and designed the study and supervised the first author.


I think our study demonstrates that reference gene expression and stability varies substantially between different peripheral blood subsets, which have important implications for gene expression studies. Furthermore, I think our study highlights that the widespread use of GAPDH as single reference gene should be abandoned.


Taken together, the findings demonstrate that PBMC subsets and interferon-beta contribute substantially to reference gene stability and recommend the use of specific reference genes, single or in combination, for future studies involving patients with MS, PBMC subsets and interferon-beta treatment. The use of GAPDH as reference gene is not recommended, as it was generally the least stable reference gene.


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