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Gene expression signatures in blood correlate with specific diseases. Such signatures may serve as valuable diagnostic and prognostic tools in disease management. Blood gene expression signatures associated with heart failure may be applied to predict prognosis, monitor disease progression, and optimize treatment. Blood gene expression profiles were generated for 71 subjects with heart failure and 15 controls without heart failure, using the Affymetrix GeneChip U133Plus2.0. Survival analysis identified 197 "mortality genes" that were significantly associated with patient outcome. Functional categorization showed that genes associated with T cell receptor signaling were most significantly overpresented. Cluster analysis of these T cell receptor signaling genes significantly categorized heart failure patients into three risk groups (P = 0.031) that were distinct from the three risk groups categorized by New York Heart Association (NYHA) Classification (P = 0.0002). By combining the analysis of clinical assessment (NYHA class) with T cell receptor signaling gene expression, we proposed a model that demonstrated an even greater differentiation of patients at risk (P = 0.0001). In this discovery study, we identified blood expression signatures associated with heart failure patient outcomes. Characterization of these mortality genes helped identify a set of T cell receptor signaling genes that may be of utility in predicting survival of heart failure patients. These data raise the possibility of prospectively risk stratifying patients with heart failure by integrating blood gene expression signatures with current clinical assessment.

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