Laser-capture microdissection (LCM) that enables the isolation of specific cell populations from complex tissues under morphological control is increasingly used for subsequent gene expression studies in cell biology by methods such as real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), microarrays and most recently by RNA-sequencing. Challenges are i) to select precisely and efficiently cells of interest and ii) to maintain RNA integrity. The mammary gland which is a complex and heterogeneous tissue, consists of multiple cell types, changing in relative proportion during its development and thus hampering gene expression profiling comparison on whole tissue between physiological stages. During lactation, mammary epithelial cells (MEC) are predominant. However several other cell types, including myoepithelial (MMC) and immune cells are present, making it difficult to precisely determine the specificity of gene expression to the cell type of origin. In this work, an optimized reliable procedure for producing RNA from alveolar epithelial cells isolated from frozen histological sections of lactating goat, sheep and cow mammary glands using an infrared-laser based Arcturus Veritas LCM (Applied Biosystems®) system has been developed. The following steps of the microdissection workflow: cryosectioning, staining, dehydration and harvesting of microdissected cells have been carefully considered and designed to ensure cell capture efficiency without compromising RNA integrity.
The best results were obtained when staining 8 μm-thick sections with Cresyl violet® (Ambion, Applied Biosystems®) and capturing microdissected cells during less than 2 hours before RNA extraction. In addition, particular attention was paid to animal preparation before biopsies or slaughtering (milking) and freezing of tissue blocks which were embedded in a cryoprotective compound before being immersed in isopentane. The amount of RNA thus obtained from ca.150 to 250 acini (300,000 to 600,000 μm2) ranges between 5 to 10 ng. RNA integrity number (RIN) was ca. 8.0 and selectivity of this LCM protocol was demonstrated through qPCR analyses for several alveolar cell specific genes, including LALBA (α-lactalbumin) and CSN1S2 (αs2-casein), as well as Krt14 (cytokeratin 14), CD3e and CD68 which are specific markers of MMC, lymphocytes and macrophages, respectively.
RNAs isolated from MEC in this manner were of very good quality for subsequent linear amplification, thus making it possible to establish a referential gene expression profile of the healthy MEC, a useful platform for tumor biomarker discovery.
Laser capture microdissection (LCM) has successfully isolated pure cell populations from tissue sections and the combination of LCM with standard genomic and proteomic methods has revolutionized molecular analysis of complex tissue. However, the quantity and quality of material recovered after LCM is often still limited for analysis by using whole genomic and proteomic approaches. To procure high quality and quantity of RNA after LCM, we optimized the procedures on tissue preparations and applied the approach for cell type-specific miRNA expression profiling in colorectal tumors.
We found that the ethanol fixation of tissue sections for 2 hours had the maximum improvement of RNA quality (1.8 fold, p = 0.0014) and quantity (1.5 fold, p = 0.066). Overall, the quality (RNA integrity number, RIN) for the microdissected colorectal tissues was 5.2 ± 1.5 (average ± SD) for normal (n = 43), 5.7 ± 1.1 for adenomas (n = 14) and 7.2 ± 1.2 for carcinomas (n = 44). We then compared miRNA expression profiles of 18 colorectal tissues (6 normal, 6 adenomas and 6 carcinomas) between LCM selected epithelial cells versus stromal cells using Agilent miRNA microarrays. We identified 51 differentially expressed miRNAs (p <= 0.001) between these two cell types. We found that the miRNAs in the epithelial cells could differentiate adenomas from normal and carcinomas. However, the miRNAs in the stromal and mixed cells could not separate adenomas from normal tissues. Finally, we applied quantitative RT-PCR to cross-verify the expression patterns of 7 different miRNAs using 8 LCM-selected epithelial cells and found the excellent correlation of the fold changes between the two platforms (R = 0.996).
Our study demonstrates the feasibility and potential power of discovering cell type-specific miRNA biomarkers in complex tissue using combination of LCM with genome-wide miRNA analysis.
Gastric cancer samples obtained by histologic macrodissection contain a relatively high stromal content that may significantly influence gene expression profiles. Differences between the gene expression signature derived from macrodissected gastric cancer samples and the signature obtained from isolated gastric cancer epithelial cells from the same biopsies using laser-capture microdissection (LCM) were evaluated for their potential experimental biases.
RNA was isolated from frozen tissue samples of gastric cancer biopsies from 20 patients using both histologic macrodissection and LCM techniques. RNA from LCM was subject to an additional round of T7 RNA amplification. Expression profiling was performed using Affymetrix HG-U133A arrays. Genes identified in the expression signatures from each tissue processing method were compared to the set of genes contained within chromosomal regions found to harbor copy number aberrations in the tumor samples by array CGH and to proteins previously identified as being overexpressed in gastric cancer.
Genes shown to have increased copy number in gastric cancer were also found to be overexpressed in samples obtained by macrodissection (LS P value < 10-5), but not in array data generated using microdissection. A set of 58 previously identified genes overexpressed in gastric cancer was also enriched in the gene signature identified by macrodissection (LS P < 10-5), but not in the signature identified by microdissection (LS P = 0.013). In contrast, 66 genes previously reported to be underexpressed in gastric cancer were enriched in the gene signature identified by microdissection (LS P < 10-5), but not in the signature identified by macrodissection (LS P = 0.89).
The tumor sampling technique biases the microarray results. LCM may be a more sensitive collection and processing method for the identification of potential tumor suppressor gene candidates in gastric cancer using expression profiling.
Laser capture microdissection (LCM) is a versatile computer-assisted dissection method that permits collection of tissue samples with a remarkable level of anatomical resolution. LCM’s application to the study of human brain pathology is growing, although it is still relatively underutilized, compared with other areas of research. The present study examined factors that affect the utility of LCM, as performed with an Arcturus Veritas, in the study of gene expression in the human brain using frozen tissue sections. LCM performance was ascertained by determining cell capture efficiency and the quality of RNA extracted from human brain tissue under varying conditions. Among these, the relative humidity of the laboratory where tissue sections are stained, handled, and submitted to LCM had a profound effect on the performance of the instrument and on the quality of RNA extracted from tissue sections. Low relative humidity in the laboratory, i.e., 6–23%, was conducive to little or no degradation of RNA extracted from tissue following staining and fixation and to high capture efficiency by the LCM instrument. LCM settings were optimized as described herein to permit the selective capture of astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and noradrenergic neurons from tissue sections containing the human locus coeruleus, as determined by the gene expression of cell-specific markers. With due regard for specific limitations, LCM can be used to evaluate the molecular pathology of individual cell types in post-mortem human brain.
laser capture microdissection; astrocyte; oligodendrocyte; noradrenergic neuron; humidity
In order to compare the global gene expression profiles of different embryonic cell types, it is first necessary to isolate the specific cells of interest. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a step-by-step protocol to perform laser capture microdissection (LCM) on embryo samples and obtain sufficient amounts of high-quality RNA for microarray hybridizations. Using the LCM/microarray strategy on mouse embryo samples has some challenges, because the cells of interest are available in limited quantities. The first step in the protocol is to obtain embryonic tissue, and immediately cryoprotect and freeze it in a cryomold containing Optimal Cutting Temperature freezing media (Sakura Finetek), using a dry ice–isopentane bath. The tissue is then cryosectioned, and the microscope slides are processed to fix, stain, and dehydrate the cells. LCM is employed to isolate specific cell types from the slides, identified under the microscope by virtue of their morphology. Detailed protocols are provided for using the currently available ArcturusXT LCM instrument and CapSure® LCM Caps, to which the selected cells adhere upon laser capture. To maintain RNA integrity, upon removing a slide from the final processing step, or attaching the first cells on the LCM cap, LCM is completed within 20 min. The cells are then immediately recovered from the LCM cap using a denaturing solution that stabilizes RNA integrity. RNA is prepared using standard methods, modified for working with small samples. To ensure the validity of the microarray data, the quality of the RNA is assessed using the Agilent bioanalyzer. Only RNA that is of sufficient integrity and quantity is used to perform microarray assays. This chapter provides guidance regarding troubleshooting and optimization to obtain high-quality RNA from cells of limited availability, obtained from embryo samples by LCM.
Laser capture microdissection; RNA; Microarray; Infrared laser
The prostate gland represents a multifaceted system in which prostate epithelia and stroma have distinct physiological roles. To understand the interaction between stroma and glandular epithelia, it is essential to delineate the gene expression profiles of these two tissue types in prostate cancer. Most studies have compared tumor and normal samples by performing global expression analysis using a mixture of cell populations. This report presents the first study of prostate tumor tissue that examines patterns of differential expression between specific cell types using laser capture microdissection (LCM).
LCM was used to isolate distinct cell-type populations and identify their gene expression differences using oligonucleotide microarrays. Ten differentially expressed genes were then analyzed in paired tumor and non-neoplastic prostate tissues by quantitative real-time PCR. Expression patterns of the transcription factors, WT1 and EGR1, were further compared in established prostate cell lines. WT1 protein expression was also examined in prostate tissue microarrays using immunohistochemistry.
The two-step method of laser capture and microarray analysis identified nearly 500 genes whose expression levels were significantly different in prostate epithelial versus stromal tissues. Several genes expressed in epithelial cells (WT1, GATA2, and FGFR-3) were more highly expressed in neoplastic than in non-neoplastic tissues; conversely several genes expressed in stromal cells (CCL5, CXCL13, IGF-1, FGF-2, and IGFBP3) were more highly expressed in non-neoplastic than in neoplastic tissues. Notably, EGR1 was also differentially expressed between epithelial and stromal tissues. Expression of WT1 and EGR1 in cell lines was consistent with these patterns of differential expression. Importantly, WT1 protein expression was demonstrated in tumor tissues and was absent in normal and benign tissues.
The prostate represents a complex mix of cell types and there is a need to analyze distinct cell populations to better understand their potential interactions. In the present study, LCM and microarray analysis were used to identify novel gene expression patterns in prostate cell populations, including identification of WT1 expression in epithelial cells. The relevance of WT1 expression in prostate cancer was confirmed by analysis of tumor tissue and cell lines, suggesting a potential role for WT1 in prostate tumorigenesis.
The molecular examination of pathologically altered cells and tissues at the DNA, RNA, and protein level has revolutionised research and diagnostics in pathology. However, the inherent heterogeneity of primary tissues with an admixture of various reactive cell populations can affect the outcome and interpretation of molecular studies. Recently, microdissection of tissue sections and cytological preparations has been used increasingly for the isolation of homogeneous, morphologically identified cell populations, thus overcoming the obstacle of tissue complexity. In conjunction with sensitive analytical techniques, such as the polymerase chain reaction, microdissection allows precise in vivo examination of cell populations, such as carcinoma in situ or the malignant cells of Hodgkin's disease, which are otherwise inaccessible for conventional molecular studies. However, most microdissection techniques are very time consuming and require a high degree of manual dexterity, which limits their practical use. Laser capture microdissection (LCM), a novel technique developed at the National Cancer Institute, is an important advance in terms of speed, ease of use, and versatility of microdissection. LCM is based on the adherence of visually selected cells to a thermoplastic membrane, which overlies the dehydrated tissue section and is focally melted by triggering of a low energy infrared laser pulse. The melted membrane forms a composite with the selected tissue area, which can be removed by simple lifting of the membrane. LCM can be applied to a wide range of cell and tissue preparations including paraffin wax embedded material. The use of immunohistochemical stains allows the selection of cells according to phenotypic and functional characteristics. Depending on the starting material, DNA, good quality mRNA, and proteins can be extracted successfully from captured tissue fragments, down to the single cell level. In combination with techniques like expression library construction, cDNA array hybridisation and differential display, LCM will allow the establishment of "genetic fingerprints"of specific pathological lesions, especially malignant neoplasms. In addition to the identification of new diagnostic and prognostic markers, this approach could help in establishing individualised treatments tailored to the molecular profile of a tumour. This review provides an overview of the technique of LCM, summarises current applications and new methodical approaches, and tries to give a perspective on future developments. In addition, LCM is compared with other recently developed laser microdissection techniques.
Key Words: laser capture microdissection • RNA analysis • DNA analysis • gene expression • profiling • immunohistochemistry
Identifying genes differentially expressed in non-dysplastic Barrett’s esophagus (BE) from those expressed in high grade dysplasia (HGD) should be of value in improving our understanding of this transition and may yield new diagnostic and/or prognostic markers. The aim of this study was to determine the differential transcriptome of HGD compared with non-dysplastic BE through gene microarray analysis of epithelial cells microdissected from archival tissue specimens.
Laser capture microdissection (LCM) was used to isolate epithelial cells from adjacent inflammatory and stromal cells. Epithelial mRNA was extracted from areas of non-dysplastic BE and HGD in matched biopsies from 11 patients. mRNA was reverse transcribed and applied on Affymetrix cDNA microarray chips customized for formalin-exposed tissue. For a subset of these genes, differential gene expression was confirmed by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.
There were 131 genes over-expressed by at least 2.5-fold in HGD versus non-dysplastic BE and 16 genes that were under-expressed by at least 2.5-fold. Among the over-expressed genes are several previously demonstrated to be increased in the neoplastic progression of BE, as well as novel genes such as lipocalin-2, S100A9, matrix metallopeptidase 12, secernin 1 and topoisomerase IIα. Genes decreased in dysplastic epithelium include MUC5AC, trefoil factor1 (TFF1), meprin A and CD13. RT-PCR validated the changes in expression in 24 of 28 selected genes. Immunohistochemistry confirmed increased protein expression for topoisomerase IIα, S100A9 and lipocalin-2 and decreased expression of TFF1 across the spectrum of BE associated dysplasia from non-dysplastic BE through adenocarcinoma.
This is the first study to identify epithelial genes differentially expressed in HGD versus non-dysplastic BE in matched patient samples. The genes identified include several previously implicated in the pathogenesis of Barrett’s-associated dysplasia and new candidates for further investigation.
Barrett’s esophagus; dysplasia; gene expression; laser capture microdissection (LCM); microarray
An important need of many cancer research projects is the availability of high-quality, appropriately selected tissue. Tissue biorepositories are organized to collect, process, store, and distribute samples of tumor and normal tissue for further use in fundamental and translational cancer research. This, in turn, provides investigators with an invaluable resource of appropriately examined and characterized tissue specimens and linked patient information. Human tissues, in particular, tumor tissues, are complex structures composed of heterogeneous mixtures of morphologically and functionally distinct cell types. It is essential to analyze specific cell types to identify and define accurately the biologically important processes in pathologic lesions. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) is state-of-the-art technology that provides the scientific community with a rapid and reliable method to isolate a homogeneous population of cells from heterogeneous tissue specimens, thus providing investigators with the ability to analyze DNA, RNA, and protein accurately from pure populations of cells. This is particularly well-suited for tumor cell isolation, which can be captured from complex tissue samples. The combination of LCM and a tissue biorepository offers a comprehensive means by which researchers can use valuable human biospecimens and cutting-edge technology to facilitate basic, translational, and clinical research. This review provides an overview of LCM technology with an emphasis on the applications of LCM in the setting of a tissue biorepository, based on the author's extensive experience in LCM procedures acquired at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Hollings Cancer Center.
pathology; cancer biology; cells of interest
Laser capture microdissection (LCM) facilitates procurement of defined cell populations for study in the context of histopathology. The morphologic assessment step in the LCM procedure is time consuming and tedious, thus restricting the utility of the technology for large applications.
Here, we describe the use of Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization (SIVQ) for histological analysis and LCM. Using SIVQ, we selected vectors as morphologic predicates that were representative of normal epithelial or cancer cells and then searched for phenotypically similar cells across entire tissue sections. The selected cells were subsequently auto-microdissected and the recovered RNA was analyzed by expression microarray. Gene expression profiles from SIVQ–LCM and standard LCM–derived samples demonstrated highly congruous signatures, confirming the equivalence of the differing microdissection methods.
SIVQ–LCM improves the work-flow of microdissection in two significant ways. First, the process is transformative in that it shifts the pathologist's role from technical execution of the entire microdissection to a limited-contact supervisory role, enabling large-scale extraction of tissue by expediting subsequent semi-autonomous identification of target cell populations. Second, this work-flow model provides an opportunity to systematically identify highly constrained cell populations and morphologically consistent regions within tissue sections. Integrating SIVQ with LCM in a single environment provides advanced capabilities for efficient and high-throughput histological-based molecular studies.
Laser capture microdissection; microarray; Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization
Successful achievement of early folliculogenesis is crucial for female reproductive function. The process is finely regulated by cell-cell interactions and by the coordinated expression of genes in both the oocyte and in granulosa cells. Despite many studies, little is known about the cell-specific gene expression driving early folliculogenesis. The very small size of these follicles and the mixture of types of follicles within the developing ovary make the experimental study of isolated follicular components very difficult.
The recently developed laser capture microdissection (LCM) technique coupled with microarray experiments is a promising way to address the molecular profile of pure cell populations. However, one main challenge was to preserve the RNA quality during the isolation of single cells or groups of cells and also to obtain sufficient amounts of RNA.
Using a new LCM method, we describe here the separate expression profiles of oocytes and follicular cells during the first stages of sheep folliculogenesis.
We developed a new tissue fixation protocol ensuring efficient single cell capture and RNA integrity during the microdissection procedure. Enrichment in specific cell types was controlled by qRT-PCR analysis of known genes: six oocyte-specific genes (SOHLH2, MAEL, MATER, VASA, GDF9, BMP15) and three granulosa cell-specific genes (KL, GATA4, AMH).
A global gene expression profile for each follicular compartment during early developmental stages was identified here for the first time, using a bovine Affymetrix chip. Most notably, the granulosa cell dataset is unique to date. The comparison of oocyte vs. follicular cell transcriptomes revealed 1050 transcripts specific to the granulosa cell and 759 specific to the oocyte.
Functional analyses allowed the characterization of the three main cellular events involved in early folliculogenesis and confirmed the relevance and potential of LCM-derived RNA.
The ovary is a complex mixture of different cell types. Distinct cell populations need therefore to be analyzed for a better understanding of their potential interactions. LCM and microarray analysis allowed us to identify novel gene expression patterns in follicular cells at different stages and in oocyte populations.
Epithelial–mesenchymal interactions (EMIs) are critical for tooth development. Molecular mechanisms mediating these interactions in root formation is not well understood. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) and subsequent microarray analyses enable large scale in situ molecular and cellular studies of root formation but to date have been hindered by technical challenges of gaining intact histological sections of non-decalcified mineralized teeth or jaws with well-preserved RNA. Here,we describe a new method to overcome this obstacle that permits LCM of dental epithelia,adjacent mesenchyme,odontoblasts and cementoblasts from mouse incisors and molars during root development. Using this method,we obtained RNA samples of high quality and successfully performed microarray analyses. Robust differences in gene expression,as well as genes not previously associated with root formation,were identified. Comparison of gene expression data from microarray with real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) supported our findings. These genes include known markers of dental epithelia,mesenchyme,cementoblasts and odontoblasts,as well as novel genes such as those in the fibulin family. In conclusion,our new approach in tissue preparation enables LCM collection of intact cells with well-preserved RNA allowing subsequent gene expression analyses using microarray and RT-PCR to define key regulators of tooth root development.
gene; laser capture microdissection; microarray; PCR; root
AIM: To develop a method of labeling and micro-dissecting mouse Kupffer cells within an extraordinarily short period of time using laser capture microdissection (LCM).
METHODS: Tissues are complex structures comprised of a heterogeneous population of interconnected cells. LCM offers a method of isolating a single cell type from specific regions of a tissue section. LCM is an essential approach used in conjunction with molecular analysis to study the functional interaction of cells in their native tissue environment. The process of labeling and acquiring cells by LCM prior to mRNA isolation can be elaborate, thereby subjecting the RNA to considerable degradation. Kupffer cell labeling is achieved by injecting India ink intravenously, thus circumventing the need for in vitro staining. The significance of this novel approach was validated using a cholestatic liver injury model.
RESULTS: mRNA extracted from the microdissected cell population displayed marked increases in colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor and Kupffer cell receptor message expression, which demonstrated Kupffer cell enrichment. Gene expression by Kupffer cells derived from bile-duct-ligated, versus sham-operated, mice was compared. Microarray analysis revealed a significant (2.5-fold, q value < 10) change in 493 genes. Based on this fold-change and a standardized PubMed search, 10 genes were identified that were relevant to the ability of Kupffer cells to suppress liver injury.
CONCLUSION: The methodology outlined herein provides an approach to isolating high quality RNA from Kupffer cells, without altering the tissue integrity.
Kupffer cells; India ink; Laser capture microdissection; Bile duct ligation; DNA microarray
The cellular heterogeneity of brain poses a particularly thorny issue in genome-wide gene expression studies. Because laser capture microdissection (LCM) enables the precise extraction of a small area of tissue, we combined LCM with neuronal track tracing to collect nucleus accumbens shell neurons that project to ventral pallidum, which are of particular interest in the study of reward and addiction. Four independent biological samples of accumbens projection neurons were obtained. Approximately 500 pg of total RNA from each sample was then amplified linearly and subjected to Affymetrix microarray and Applied Biosystems sequencing by oligonucleotide ligation and detection (SOLiD) transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq). A total of 375 million 50-bp reads were obtained from RNA-seq. Approximately 57% of these reads were mapped to the rat reference genome (Baylor 3.4/rn4). Approximately 11,000 unique RefSeq genes and 100,000 unique exons were identified from each sample. Of the unmapped reads, the quality scores were 4.74 ± 0.42 lower than the mapped reads. When RNA-seq and microarray data from the same samples were compared, Pearson correlations were between 0.764 and 0.798. The variances in data obtained for the four samples by microarray and RNA-seq were similar for medium to high abundance genes, but less among low abundance genes detected by microarray. Analysis of 34 genes by real-time polymerase chain reaction showed higher correlation with RNA-seq (0.66) than with microarray (0.46). Further analysis showed 20–30 million 50-bp reads are sufficient to provide estimates of gene expression levels comparable to those produced by microarray. In summary, this study showed that picogram quantities of total RNA obtained by LCM of ∼700 individual neurons is sufficient to take advantage of the benefits provided by the transcriptome sequencing technology, such as low background noise, high dynamic range, and high precision.
transcriptome sequencing; GABAergic; nucleus accumbens; microarray; laser capture microdissection; GABA; RNA sequencing
The intestinal mucosa is the compartment that sustains the most severe injury in response to radiation and is therefore of primary interest. The use of whole gut extracts for analysis of gene expression may confound important changes in the mucosa. On the other hand, laser capture microdissection (LCM) is hampered by the unstable nature of RNA and by a more complicated collection process. This study assessed, in parallel samples from a validated radiation model, the indications for use of LCM for intestinal gene expression analysis.
RNA was extracted from mouse whole intestine and from mucosa by LCM at baseline and 4 h, 24 h, and 3.5 d after total body irradiation and subjected to microarray analysis. Among mucosal genes that were altered > = 2-fold, less than 7% were present in the whole gut at 4 and 24 h, and 25% at 3.5 d. As expected, pathway analysis of mucosal LCM samples showed that radiation activated the coagulation system, lymphocyte apoptosis, and tight junction signaling, and caused extensive up-regulation of cell cycle and DNA damage repair pathways. Using similar stringent criteria, regulation of these pathways, with exception of the p53 pathway, was undetectable in the whole gut. Radiation induced a dramatic increase of caspase14 and ectodysplasin A2 receptor (Eda2r), a TNFα receptor, in both types of samples.
LCM-isolated mucosal specimens should be used to study cellular injury, cell cycle control, and DNA damage repair pathways. The remarkable increase of caspase14 and Eda2r suggests a novel role for these genes in regulating intestinal radiation injury. Comparative gene expression data from complex tissues should be interpreted with caution.
Transcriptome analysis of bovine mammary development has provided insight into regulation of mammogenesis. However, previous studies primarily examined expression of epithelial and stromal tissues combined, and consequently did not account for tissue specific contribution to mammary development. Our objective was to identify differences in gene expression in epithelial and intralobular stromal compartments. Tissue was biopsied from non-lactating dairy cows 3 weeks prepartum, cut into explants and incubated for 2 hr with insulin and hydrocortisone. Epithelial and intralobular stromal tissues were isolated with laser capture microdissection. Global gene expression was measured with Bovine Affymetrix GeneChips, and data were preprocessed using RMA method. Moderated t-tests from gene-specific linear model analysis with cell type as a fixed effect showed more than 3,000 genes were differentially expressed between tissues (P<0.05; FDR<0.17). Analysis of epithelial and stromal transcriptomes using Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery (DAVID) and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) showed that epithelial and stromal cells contributed distinct molecular signatures. Epithelial signatures were enriched with gene sets for protein synthesis, metabolism and secretion. Stromal signatures were enriched with genes that encoded molecules important to signaling, extracellular matrix composition and remodeling. Transcriptome differences also showed evidence for paracrine interactions between tissues in stimulation of IGF1 signaling pathway, stromal reaction, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, and immune response. Molecular signatures point to the dynamic role the stroma plays in prepartum mammogenesis and highlight the importance of examining the roles of cell types within the mammary gland when targeting therapies and studying mechanisms that affect milk production.
Diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus (BE) is typically done through morphologic analysis of esophageal tissue biopsy. Such samples contain several cell types. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) allows the isolation of specific cells from heterogeneous cell populations. The purpose of this study was to determine the degree of overlap of the two sample types and to define a set of genes that may serve as biochemical markers for BE.
We obtained biopsies from regions of the glandular tissue of BE and normal esophagus from 9 subjects with BE. Samples from 5 subjects were examined as whole tissue (BE [whole]; E [whole]), and in 4 subjects the glandular epithelium of BE was isolated using LCM (BE [LCM]) and compared to the averaged values (E [LCM]) for both basal cell (B [LCM]) and squamous cell (S [LCM]) epithelium.
Gene expression revealed 1797 probesets between BE [whole] and E [whole] (fold change > 2.0; p<0.001). Most (74%) were also differentially expressed between BE [LCM] and E [LCM], showing that there was high concordance between the two sampling methods. LCM provided a great deal of additional information (2113 genes) about the alterations in gene expression that may represent the BE phenotype.
There are differences in gene expression profiles depending on whether specimens are whole tissue biopsies or LCM dissected. Whole tissue biopsies should prove satisfactory for diagnostic purposes. Because the data from LCM samples delineated many more Barrett's specific genes, this procedure may provide more information regarding pathogenesis than whole tissue material.
Cancer growth, invasion and metastasis are highly related to tumor-associated neovasculature. The presence and progression of endothelial cells in cancer is chaotic, unorganized, and angiogenic vessels are less functional. Therefore, not all markers appearing on the chaotic endothelial cells are accessible if a drug is given through the vascular route. Identifying endothelial cell markers from functional cancer angiogenic vessels will indicate the accessibility and potential efficacy of vascular targeted therapies.
In order to quickly and effectively identify endothelial cell markers on the functional and accessible tumor vessels, we developed a novel technique by which tumor angiogenic vessels are labeled in vivo followed by Laser Capture Microdissection of microscopically isolated endothelial cells for genomic screening. Female C3H mice (N = 5) with established SCCVII tumors were treated with Rhodamine-RCA lectin by tail vein injection, and after fluorescence microscopy showed a successful vasculature staining, LCM was then performed on frozen section tissue using the PixCell II instrument with CapSure HS caps under the Rhodamine filter. By this approach, the fluorescent angiogenic endothelial cells were successfully picked up. As a result, the total RNA concentration increased from an average of 33.4 ng/ul +/- 24.3 (mean +/- S.D.) to 1913.4 ng/ul +/- 164. Relatively pure RNA was retrieved from both endothelial and epithelial cells as indicated by the 260/280 ratios (range 2.22–2.47). RT-PCR and gene electrophoresis successfully detected CD31 and Beta-Actin molecules with minimal Keratin 19 expression, which served as the negative control.
Our present study demonstrates that in vivo Rhodamine RCA angiogenic vessel labeling provided a practical approach to effectively guide functional endothelial cell isolation by laser capture microdissection with fluorescent microscopy, resulting in high quality RNA and pure samples of endothelial cells pooled for detecting genomic expression.
In order to provide gene expression profiles of different cell types, the primary step is to isolate the specific cells of interest via laser capture microdissection (LCM), followed by extraction of good quality total RNA sufficient for quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. This LCM-qPCR strategy has allowed numerous gene expression studies on specific cell populations, providing valuable insights into specific cellular changes in diseases. However, such strategy imposed challenges as cells of interests are often available in limited quantities and quality of RNA may be compromised during long periods of time spent on collection of cells and extraction of total RNA; therefore, it is crucial that protocols for sample preparation should be optimised according to different cell populations.
We made several modifications to existing protocols to improve the total RNA yield and integrity for downstream qPCR analyses. A modified condensed hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining protocol was developed for the identification of rat renal proximal tubular cells (PTCs). It was then determined that a minimal of eight thousands renal PTCs were required to meet the minimal total RNA yield required for downstream qPCR. RNA integrity was assessed using at every progressive step of sample preparation. Therefore, we decided that the shortened H&E staining, together with microdissection should be performed consecutively within twenty minutes for good quality for gene expression analysis. These modified protocols were later applied on six individual rat samples. A panel of twenty rat renal drug transporters and five housekeeping genes showed Ct values below thirty-five, confirming the expression levels of these drug transporters can be detected.
We had successfully optimized the protocols to achieve sufficient good quality total RNA from microdissected rat renal PTCs for gene expression profiling via qPCR. This protocol may be suitable for researchers who are interested in employing similar applications for gene expression studies.
Laser microdissection is an invaluable tool in medical research that facilitates collecting specific cell populations for molecular analysis. Diversity of research targets (e.g., cancerous and precancerous lesions in clinical and animal research, cell pellets, rodent embryos, etc.) and varied scientific objectives, however, present challenges toward establishing standard laser microdissection protocols. Sample preparation is crucial for quality RNA, DNA and protein retrieval, where it often determines the feasibility of a laser microdissection project. The majority of microdissection studies in clinical and animal model research are conducted on frozen tissues containing native nucleic acids, unmodified by fixation. However, the variable morphological quality of frozen sections from tissues containing fat, collagen or delicate cell structures can limit or prevent successful harvest of the desired cell population via laser dissection. The CryoJane Tape-Transfer System®, a commercial device that improves cryosectioning outcomes on glass slides has been reported superior for slide preparation and isolation of high quality osteocyte RNA (frozen bone) during laser dissection. Considering the reported advantages of CryoJane for laser dissection on glass slides, we asked whether the system could also work with the plastic membrane slides used by UV laser based microdissection instruments, as these are better suited for collection of larger target areas. In an attempt to optimize laser microdissection slide preparation for tissues of different RNA stability and cryosectioning difficulty, we evaluated the CryoJane system for use with both glass (laser capture microdissection) and membrane (laser cutting microdissection) slides. We have established a sample preparation protocol for glass and membrane slides including manual coating of membrane slides with CryoJane solutions, cryosectioning, slide staining and dissection procedure, lysis and RNA extraction that facilitated efficient dissection and high quality RNA retrieval from CryoJane preparations. CryoJane technology therefore has the potential to facilitate standardization of laser microdissection slide preparation from frozen tissues.
The progression from preinvasive lesion to invasive carcinoma is a critical step contributing to breast cancer lethality. We identified down-regulation of milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8) as a contributor to breast cancer progression using microarray analysis of laser capture microdissected (LCM) tissues. We first identified MFG-E8 down-regulation in invasive lesions in transgenic mammary tumor models, which were confirmed in LCM-isolated human invasive ductal carcinomas compared with patient-matched normal tissues. In situ analyses of MFG-E8 expression in estrogen receptor (ER) positive cases confirmed its down-regulation during breast cancer progression and small inhibitory MFG-E8 RNAs accelerated ER+ breast cancer cell proliferation. MFG-E8 also decreased in erbB2+ human cancers and erbB2 transgenic mice lacking MFG-E8 showed accelerated tumor formation. In contrast, MFG-E8 expression was present at high levels in triple negative (ER-, PgR-, erbB2-) breast cancers, cell lines and patient sera. Knockdown, ChIP and reporter assays all showed that p63 regulates MFG-E8 expression, and MFG-E8 knockdowns sensitized triple negative breast cancers to cisplatin treatment. Taken together, our results show that MFG-E8 is expressed in triple negative breast cancers as a target gene of the p63 pathway, but may serve a suppressive function in ER+ and erbB2+ breast cancers. Its potential use as a serum biomarker that contributes to the pathogenesis of triple negative breast cancers urges continued evaluation of its differential functions.
cyclin D1; apoptosis; p63; integrin alpha v; integrin beta 5
Although stromal cell signaling has been shown to play a significant role in the progression of many cancers, relatively little is known about its importance in modulating ovarian cancer development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the process of stroma activation in human ovarian cancer by molecular analysis of matched sets of cancer and surrounding stroma tissues. RNA microarray profiling of 45 tissue samples was carried out using the Affymetrix (U133 Plus 2.0) gene expression platform. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) was employed to isolate cancer cells from the tumors of ovarian cancer patients (Cepi) and matched sets of surrounding cancer stroma (CS). For controls, ovarian surface epithelial cells (OSE) were isolated from the normal (noncancerous) ovaries and normal stroma (NS). Hierarchical clustering of the microarray data resulted in clear separations between the OSE, Cepi, NS, and CS samples. Expression patterns of genes encoding signaling molecules and compatible receptors in the CS and Cepi samples indicate the existence of two subgroups of cancer stroma (CS) with different propensities to support tumor growth. Our results indicate that functionally significant variability exists among ovarian cancer patients in the ability of the microenvironment to modulate cancer development.
Efforts to unravel the mechanisms underlying taste sensation (gustation) have largely focused on rodents. Here we present the first comprehensive characterization of gene expression in primate taste buds. Our findings reveal unique new insights into the biology of taste buds. We generated a taste bud gene expression database using laser capture microdissection (LCM) procured fungiform (FG) and circumvallate (CV) taste buds from primates. We also used LCM to collect the top and bottom portions of CV taste buds. Affymetrix genome wide arrays were used to analyze gene expression in all samples. Known taste receptors are preferentially expressed in the top portion of taste buds. Genes associated with the cell cycle and stem cells are preferentially expressed in the bottom portion of taste buds, suggesting that precursor cells are located there. Several chemokines including CXCL14 and CXCL8 are among the highest expressed genes in taste buds, indicating that immune system related processes are active in taste buds. Several genes expressed specifically in endocrine glands including growth hormone releasing hormone and its receptor are also strongly expressed in taste buds, suggesting a link between metabolism and taste. Cell type-specific expression of transcription factors and signaling molecules involved in cell fate, including KIT, reveals the taste bud as an active site of cell regeneration, differentiation, and development. IKBKAP, a gene mutated in familial dysautonomia, a disease that results in loss of taste buds, is expressed in taste cells that communicate with afferent nerve fibers via synaptic transmission. This database highlights the power of LCM coupled with transcriptional profiling to dissect the molecular composition of normal tissues, represents the most comprehensive molecular analysis of primate taste buds to date, and provides a foundation for further studies in diverse aspects of taste biology.
Gene expression profiling by microarray analysis of cells enriched by laser capture microdissection (LCM) faces several technical challenges. Frozen sections yield higher quality RNA than paraffin-imbedded sections, but even with frozen sections, the staining methods used for histological identification of cells of interest could still damage the mRNA in the cells. To study the contribution of staining methods to degradation of results from gene expression profiling of LCM samples, we subjected pellets of the mouse plasma cell tumor cell line TEPC 1165 to direct RNA extraction and to parallel frozen sectioning for LCM and subsequent RNA extraction. We used microarray hybridization analysis to compare gene expression profiles of RNA from cell pellets with gene expression profiles of RNA from frozen sections that had been stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), Nissl Stain (NS), and for immunofluorescence (IF) as well as with the plasma cell-revealing methyl green pyronin (MGP) stain. All RNAs were amplified with two rounds of T7-based in vitro transcription and analyzed by two-color expression analysis on 10-K cDNA microarrays.
The MGP-stained samples showed the least introduction of mRNA loss, followed by H&E and immunofluorescence. Nissl staining was significantly more detrimental to gene expression profiles, presumably owing to an aqueous step in which RNA may have been damaged by endogenous or exogenous RNAases.
RNA damage can occur during the staining steps preparatory to laser capture microdissection, with the consequence of loss of representation of certain genes in microarray hybridization analysis. Inclusion of RNAase inhibitor in aqueous staining solutions appears to be important in protecting RNA from loss of gene transcripts.
The normal growth and function of mammary epithelial cells depend on interactions with the supportive stroma. Alterations in this communication can lead to the progression or expansion of malignant growth. The human mammary gland contains two distinctive types of fibroblasts within the stroma. The epithelial cells are surrounded by loosely connected intralobular fibroblasts, which are subsequently surrounded by the more compacted interlobular fibroblasts. The different proximity of these fibroblasts to the epithelial cells suggests distinctive functions for these two subtypes. In this report, we compared the gene expression profiles between the two stromal subtypes.
Fresh normal breast tissue was collected from reduction mammoplasty patients and immediately placed into embedding medium and frozen on dry ice. Tissue sections were subjected to laser capture microscopy to isolate the interlobular from the intralobular fibroblasts. RNA was prepared and subjected to microarray analysis using the Affymetrix Human Genome U133 GeneChip®. Data was analyzed using the Affy and Limma packages available from Bioconductor. Findings from the microarray analysis were validated by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.
No statistically significant difference was detected between the gene expression profiles of the interlobular and intralobular fibroblasts by microarray analysis and RT-PCR. However, for some of the genes tested, the protein expression patterns between the two subtypes of fibroblasts were significantly different.
This study is the first to report the gene expression profiles of the two distinct fibroblast populations within the human mammary gland. While there was no significant difference in the gene expression profiles between the groups, there was an obvious difference in the expression pattern of several proteins tested. This report also highlights the importance of studying gene regulation at both the transcriptional and post-translational level.