The sensitivity of transcriptomics BMD modeling to the methods used for microarray data normalization [article]

Roman Mezencev, Scott S Auerbach
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
Whole-genome expression data generated by microarray studies have shown promise for quantitative human health risk assessment. While numerous approaches have been developed to determine benchmark doses (BMDs) from probeset-level dose responses, sensitivity of the results to methods used for normalization of the data has not yet been systematically investigated. Normalization of microarray data converts raw hybridization signals to expression estimates that are expected to be proportional to the
more » ... amounts of transcripts in the profiled specimens. Different approaches to normalization have been shown to greatly influence the results of some downstream analyses, including biological interpretation. In this study we evaluate the influence of microarray normalization methods on the transcriptomic BMDs. We demonstrate using in vivo data that the use of alternative pipelines for normalization of Affymetrix microarray data can have a considerable impact on the number of detected differentially expressed genes and pathways (processes) determined to be treatment responsive, which may lead to alternative interpretations of the data. In addition, we found that normalization can have a considerable effect (as much as ~30-fold in this study) on estimation of the minimum biological potency (transcriptomic point of departure). We argue for consideration of alternative normalization methods and their data-informed selection to most effectively interpret microarray data for use in human health risk assessment.
doi:10.1101/781567 fatcat:zxiqroqaa5aspnwxzs2ioi5jgi