A competitive RT-PCR method for the quantitative analysis of cytokine mRNAs in mouse tissues.

Nai-Ming Zhou, Patrick Matthys, Charlotta Polacek, Pierre Fiten, Akihiko Sato, Alfons Billiau, Guy Froyen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The authors describe the design and validation of a competitive RT-PCR method for the efficient and reproducible quantitation of mRNA molecules of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4 and IL-10 in mouse spleen RNA extracts. Before being subjected to RT-PCR, the RNA extracts were supplemented with internal control RNAs (IC-RNAs), which were constructed by inserting DNA fragments in the cDNA of the respective cytokines. The efficiency of amplification of the target and the IC-RNA was shown to remain equal over a wide range of cycle numbers. Reproducibility was such that differences in mRNA contents that were greater than 17% could be detected between two RNA samples run in parallel. Normal mouse spleen tissue was found to contain 107–108molecules of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-10 mRNA per μg total RNA extracted. Injection of animals with anti-CD3 antibody, a well-known cytokine inducer, resulted in a moderate increase in TNF-α and IL-10 mRNA levels (14- and 24-fold, respectively), and in a substantially greater increase in the levels of mRNA for IL-4 and IFN-γ (199- and 851-fold, respectively). These results demonstrate an accurate and reliable quantitation of cytokine mRNA levels in animal tissues.
Keyword: competitive PCR; cytokine; mRNA; quantitation
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)212-218
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Cite this