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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 363575, 20 pages
Research Article

Identification of Reference Genes in Human Myelomonocytic Cells for Gene Expression Studies in Altered Gravity

1Institute of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstraße 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
2Department of Machine Design, Engineering Design and Product Development, Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
3Study Group “Magdeburger Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung unter Raumfahrt- und Schwerelosigkeitsbedingungen” (MARS), Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
4Arrows Biomedical Deutschland GmbH, Center for Nanotechnology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Heisenbergstraße 11, 48149 Münster, Germany
5German Aerospace Center, Space Agency, Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn, Germany
6KEK GmbH, Kemberger Straße 5, 06905 Bad Schmiedeberg, Germany
7University of Applied Science Jena, Carl-Zeiss-Promenade 2, 07745 Jena, Germany
8Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), University of Zurich, Winterthurerstraße 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 14 May 2014; Accepted 4 September 2014

Academic Editor: Jack J. W. A. Van Loon

Copyright © 2015 Cora S. Thiel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Gene expression studies are indispensable for investigation and elucidation of molecular mechanisms. For the process of normalization, reference genes (“housekeeping genes”) are essential to verify gene expression analysis. Thus, it is assumed that these reference genes demonstrate similar expression levels over all experimental conditions. However, common recommendations about reference genes were established during 1 g conditions and therefore their applicability in studies with altered gravity has not been demonstrated yet. The microarray technology is frequently used to generate expression profiles under defined conditions and to determine the relative difference in expression levels between two or more different states. In our study, we searched for potential reference genes with stable expression during different gravitational conditions (microgravity, normogravity, and hypergravity) which are additionally not altered in different hardware systems. We were able to identify eight genes (ALB, B4GALT6, GAPDH, HMBS, YWHAZ, ABCA5, ABCA9, and ABCC1) which demonstrated no altered gene expression levels in all tested conditions and therefore represent good candidates for the standardization of gene expression studies in altered gravity.