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Bioinformatics and Biology Insights

Cross-species Transcriptomic Comparison of In Vitro and In Vivo Mammalian Neural Cells

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Bioinformatics and Biology Insights 2015:9 153-164

Original Research

Published on 25 Nov 2015

DOI: 10.4137/BBI.S33124


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Abstract

The mammalian brain is characterized by distinct classes of cells that differ in morphology, structure, signaling, and function. Dysregulation of gene expression in these cell populations leads to various neurological disorders. Neural cells often need to be acutely purified from animal brains for research, which requires complicated procedure and specific expertise. Primary culture of these cells in vitro is a viable alternative, but the differences in gene expression of cells grown in vitro and in vivo remain unclear. Here, we cultured three major neural cell classes of rat brain (ie, neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocyte precursor cells [OPCs]) obtained from commercial sources. We measured transcript abundance of these cell types by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and compared with their counterparts acutely purified from mouse brains. Cross-species RNA-seq data analysis revealed hundreds of genes that are differentially expressed between the cultured and acutely purified cells. Astrocytes have more such genes compared to neurons and OPCs, indicating that signaling pathways are greatly perturbed in cultured astrocytes. This dataset provides a powerful resource to demonstrate the similarities and differences of biological processes in mammalian neural cells grown in vitro and in vivo at the molecular level.



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