RNA sequencing from laser capture microdissected brain tissue to study normal aging and alzheimer’s disease

Ashley L. Siniard, Jason J. Corneveaux, Matt de Both, Monica K. Chawla, Carol A. Barnes, Matthew J. Huentelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The next-generation sequencing (NGS) of RNA, or RNA-Seq, has signifi cantly changed the way that the transcriptional content of a biological sample is investigated. RNA-Seq is a major advance for the fi eld due to its largely unbiased and digital nature, its ability to empower RNA splice form construction at a genomic level, and its improved dynamic range when compared to a microarray technology. Investigating the healthy or diseased brain presents unique problems from the standpoint of transcriptional analysis as each cell type, and perhaps even each individual cell, is in a unique state of transcription. The organ is a complex mixture of main cell types (neuronal, glial, vascular, etc.), and within each of those types, there are a multitude of subtypes (specifi c neuronal populations, different classes of glial cells, etc.) that could each be targeted for investigation and could each respond to health and disease in distinct and functionally important ways. Here, we discuss the approach of using laser capture microdissection (LCM) to specifi cally select cell types of interest for transcriptional dissection. We highlight approaches to couple this with RNA-Seq to generate highly specifi c transcriptional profi les from the brain. Sample inputs into RNA-Seq protocols continue to be pushed lower, including several reports of single-cell transcriptome profi les; therefore, the combination of cell selection approaches, like LCM, with RNA-Seq is well poised to provide a researcher with the cell-specifi c digital whole transcriptome information that has been desired since transcriptomic profi ling became feasible during the earliest days of the microarray.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2015


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Immediate early genes
  • Laser capture microdissection
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • RNA
  • Sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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