Application of microarray technology in primate behavioral neuroscience research

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, USA.
Methods (Impact Factor: 3.65). 03/2006; 38(3):227-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2005.09.017
Source: PubMed


Gene expression profiling of brain tissue samples applied to DNA microarrays promises to provide novel insights into the neurobiological bases of primate behavior. The strength of the microarray technology lies in the ability to simultaneously measure the expression levels of all genes in defined brain regions that are known to mediate behavior. The application of microarrays presents, however, various limitations and challenges for primate neuroscience research. Low RNA abundance, modest changes in gene expression, heterogeneous distribution of mRNA among cell subpopulations, and individual differences in behavior all mandate great care in the collection, processing, and analysis of brain tissue. A unique problem for nonhuman primate research is the limited availability of species-specific arrays. Arrays designed for humans are often used, but expression level differences are inevitably confounded by gene sequence differences in all cross-species array applications. Tools to deal with this problem are currently being developed. Here we review these methodological issues, and provide examples from our experiences using human arrays to examine brain tissue samples from squirrel monkeys. Until species-specific microarrays become more widely available, great caution must be taken in the assessment and interpretation of microarray data from nonhuman primates. Nevertheless, the application of human microarrays in nonhuman primate neuroscience research recovers useful information from thousands of genes, and represents an important new strategy for understanding the molecular complexity of behavior and mental health.

Download full-text


Available from: Marquis Vawter,
  • Source
    • "Oligonucleotide microarrays for the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) have recently become commercially available at both Affymetrix and Agilent [17]. However, today expression profiling in non-human primates including chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops), common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) and cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) is still performed using human arrays [18-23], despite the fact that sequence mismatches affect hybridisation intensity and likely result in a high level of false negatives or underrepresented expressed genes [18,24,25]. Interspecies use of microarrays is particularly problematic when using human microarrays to study gene expression in non-human primates that are more divergent to humans than the great apes. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus), a small non-endangered New World primate native to eastern Brazil, is becoming increasingly used as a non-human primate model in biomedical research, drug development and safety assessment. In contrast to the growing interest for the marmoset as an animal model, the molecular tools for genetic analysis are extremely limited. Here we report the development of the first marmoset-specific oligonucleotide microarray (EUMAMA) containing probe sets targeting 1541 different marmoset transcripts expressed in hippocampus. These 1541 transcripts represent a wide variety of different functional gene classes. Hybridisation of the marmoset microarray with labelled RNA from hippocampus, cortex and a panel of 7 different peripheral tissues resulted in high detection rates of 85% in the neuronal tissues and on average 70% in the non-neuronal tissues. The expression profiles of the 2 neuronal tissues, hippocampus and cortex, were highly similar, as indicated by a correlation coefficient of 0.96. Several transcripts with a tissue-specific pattern of expression were identified. Besides the marmoset microarray we have generated 3215 ESTs derived from marmoset hippocampus, which have been annotated and submitted to GenBank [GenBank: EF214838-EF215447, EH380242-EH382846]. We have generated the first marmoset-specific DNA microarray and demonstrated its use to characterise large-scale gene expression profiles of hippocampus but also of other neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. In addition, we have generated a large collection of ESTs of marmoset origin, which are now available in the public domain. These new tools will facilitate molecular genetic research into this non-human primate animal model.
    BMC Genomics 02/2007; 8(1):190. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-8-190 · 3.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GCs) alter metabolism, synaptogenesis, apoptosis, neurogenesis, and dendritic morphology in the hippocampus. To better understand how glucocorticoids regulate these aspects of hippocampal biology, we studied gene expression patterns in the CA3 (Hippocampal pyramidal cell field CA3) and dentate gyrus (DG). Litter-matched Lewis inbred rats treated for 20 days with either 9.5 mg per day sustained-release corticosterone or placebo pellets were compared with high-density oligonucleotide microarray analysis (Rat Neurobiology U34 Arrays, Affymetrix). In placebo-treated rats, 32 genes were expressed at greater levels in CA3 than DG, whereas 3 genes were expressed at great levels in DC than CA3. Regional differences were also apparent in corticosterone-induced changes in the hippocampal transcriptome. Six genes in CA3 and 41 genes in DC were differentially regulated by corticosterone. As per the glucocorticoid effects on gene transcription in the brain, forty three of these genes were upregulated, and 4 genes were downregulated. Genes differentially expressed in hippocampus included those for 13 neurotransmitter proteins, 5 ion channel related proteins, 4 transcription factors, 3 neurotrophic factors, 1 cytokine, 1 apoptosis related protein, and 5 genes involved in synaptogenesis. Interestingly, GCs can have suppressive effects on brain BDNF mRNA transcription, one of the neurotrophic factors. These results indicate the diversity of targets affected by chronic exposure to corticosterone and highlight important regional differences in hippocampal neurobiology.
    03/2007; 17(3). DOI:10.5352/JLS.2007.17.3.305
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stressful experiences that consistently increase cortisol levels appear to alter the expression of hundreds of genes in prefrontal limbic brain regions. Here, we investigate this hypothesis in monkeys exposed to intermittent social stress-induced episodes of hypercortisolism or a no-stress control condition. Prefrontal profiles of gene expression compiled from Affymetrix microarray data for monkeys randomized to the no-stress condition were consistent with microarray results published for healthy humans. In monkeys exposed to intermittent social stress, more genes than expected by chance appeared to be differentially expressed in ventromedial prefrontal cortex compared to monkeys not exposed to adult social stress. Most of these stress responsive candidate genes were modestly downregulated, including ubiquitin conjugation enzymes and ligases involved in synaptic plasticity, cell cycle progression and nuclear receptor signaling. Social stress did not affect gene expression beyond that expected by chance in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex or prefrontal white matter. Thirty four of 48 comparisons chosen for verification by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) were consistent with the microarray-predicted result. Furthermore, qPCR and microarray data were highly correlated. These results provide new insights on the regulation of gene expression in a prefrontal corticolimbic region involved in the pathophysiology of stress and major depression. Comparisons between these data from monkeys and those for ventromedial prefrontal cortex in humans with a history of major depression may help to distinguish the molecular signature of stress from other confounding factors in human postmortem brain research.
    Molecular Psychiatry 01/2008; 12(12):1089-102. DOI:10.1038/ · 14.50 Impact Factor
Show more