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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 523840, 8 pages
Research Article

Assessment of Control Tissue for Gene and Protein Expression Studies: A Comparison of Three Alternative Lung Sources

1Critical Care Research Group, University of Queensland, Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
2Department of Medicine, University of Queensland, Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

Received 14 October 2011; Accepted 24 November 2011

Academic Editors: K. Gillespie and K. Kiura

Copyright © 2012 Margaret R. Passmore 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.


The use of an appropriate control group in human research is essential in investigating the level of a pathological disorder. This study aimed to compare three alternative sources of control lung tissue and to determine their suitability for gene and protein expression studies. Gene and protein expression levels of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and gelatinase families and their receptors were measured using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. The gene expression levels of VEGFA, placental growth factor (PGF), and their receptors, fms-related tyrosine kinase 1 (FLT1), and kinase insert domain receptor (KDR) as well as matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and the inhibitors, tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) and TIMP-2 were significantly higher in lung cancer resections. The gene expression level of MMP-9 was significantly lower in the corresponding samples. Altered protein expression was also detected, depending on the area assessed. The results of this study show that none of the three control groups studied are completely suitable for gene and protein studies associated with the VEGF and gelatinase families, highlighting the need for researchers to be selective in which controls they opt for.