The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Single-cell microarray analysis in hippocampus CA1: demonstration and validation of cellular heterogeneity.

PMID 12736331


Laser capture microdissection in combination with microarrays allows for the expression analysis of thousands of genes in selected cells. Here we describe single-cell gene expression profiling of CA1 neurons in the rat hippocampus using a combination of laser capture, T7 RNA amplification, and cDNA microarray analysis. Subsequent cluster analysis of the microarray data identified two different cell types: pyramidal neurons and an interneuron. Cluster analysis also revealed differences among the pyramidal neurons, indicating that even a single cell type in vivo is not a homogeneous population of cells at the gene expression level. Microarray data were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. We also report on the reproducibility and sensitivity of this combination of methods. Single-cell gene expression profiling offers a powerful tool to tackle the complexity of the mammalian brain.