Deciphering gene expression profiles generated from DNA microarrays and their applications in oral medicine

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Genome-wide monitoring of gene expression profiles using DNA microarrays provides a unique approach to exploring the biological processes underlying oral diseases and disorders by providing a comprehensive survey of a cell's or tissue's transcriptional mapping. This revolutionary technology allows for the simultaneous assessment of the transcription levels of tens of thousands of genes, and of their relative expression between normal and diseased cells. As microarray data analysis evolves, there is a widespread hope that microarrays will significantly impact our ability to explore the genetic changes associated with disease etiology and development, ultimately leading to the discovery of new biomarkers for disease diagnosis and prognosis prediction as well as new therapeutic tools. The goal of this manuscript is to review 2 of the most commonly used microarray technologies, provide an overview of data analyses involved in a typical microarray experiment, and comment upon the application of microarrays to oral medicine.

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