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Gene expression profiles of giant hairy naevi
  1. M R K Dasu1,
  2. R E Barrow1,
  3. H K Hawkins2,
  4. R L McCauley1
  1. 1Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M R K Dasu
 Shriners Hospitals for Children, 815 Market Street, Galveston, TX 77550, USA;


Background: Congenital neomelanocytic naevi appear in nearly 1% of newborns. Giant hairy naevi (GHN) are uncommon lesions covering large areas of the body. They are of concern because they have the potential to transform into malignant melanomas.

Aims: To describe gene expression profiles of GHN and nearby normal skin from patients with GHN and normal control skin (from patients with cleft lip/palate).

Methods: Tissues from three patients with GHN and two normal controls were studied for differences in gene expression profiles. Total RNA was isolated from normal skin near the hairy naevus, GHN, and skin from normal controls. The RNA samples were subjected to probe labelling, hybridisation to chips, and image acquisition according to the standard Affymetrix protocol.

Results: There were 227 genes affected across all samples, as determined by DNA microarray analysis. There was increased expression of 22 genes in GHN compared with nearby normal skin. Decreased expression was noted in 73 genes. In addition, there was increased expression of 36 genes in normal skin near GHN compared with normal control skin, and decreased expression of five genes. Categories of genes affected were those encoding structural proteins, proteins related to developmental processes, cell death associated proteins, transcription factors, growth factors, stress response modulators, and collagen associated proteins. Changes in mRNA expression were checked by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Conclusions: Genetic profiles of GHN may provide insight into their pathogenesis, including their potential for malignant transformation. Such information may be useful in improving the understanding and management of these lesions.

  • GHN, giant hairy naevi
  • HIF, hypoxia inducible factor
  • RT-PCR, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction
  • TRP-1, tyrosinase related protein 1
  • TRP-2, tyrosinase related protein or dopachrome tautomerase
  • VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor
  • giant hairy naevus
  • melanoma
  • microarrays
  • gene expression profile
  • reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction

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