Indexed on: 01 Oct '02Published on: 01 Oct '02Published in: Neurochemical Research
Recent developments in gene array technologies, specifically cDNA microarray platforms, have made it easier to try to understand the constellation of gene alterations that occur within the CNS. Unlike an organ that is comprised of one principal cell type, the brain contains a multiplicity of both neuronal (e.g., pyramidal neurons, interneurons, and others) and noneuronal (e.g., astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes, and others) populations of cells. An emerging goal of modern molecular neuroscience is to sample gene expression from similar cell types within a defined region without potential contamination by expression profiles of adjacent neuronal subtypes and noneuronal cells. At present, an optimal methodology to assess gene expression is to evaluate single cells, either identified physiologically in living preparations, or by immunocytochemical or histochemical procedures in fixed cells in vitro or in vivo. Unfortunately, the quantity of RNA harvested from a single cell is not sufficient for standard RNA extraction methods. Therefore, exponential polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) based analyses and linear RNA amplifications, including a newly developed terminal continuation (TC) RNA amplification methodology, have been used in combination with single cell microdissection procedures to enable the use of cDNA microarray analysis within individual populations of cells obtained from postmortem brain samples as well as the brains of animal models of neurodegeneration.