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J Neurosci Methods. 2003 Jun 15;126(1):69-77.

Identification of human cells in brain xenografts and in neural co-cultures of rat by in situ hybridisation with Alu probe.

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Organ and Tissue Culturing, German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany.


Transplantation of human cells into animal models of neurodegenerative disorders is an important scientific application to analyse the survival and developmental capacity of grafted human cells under in vivo conditions. It is critical, therefore, to have a reliable method to distinguish between human and animal cells. In the present study, we describe a combined in situ hybridisation and immunocytochemistry method for the identification of human cells in cultured rat brain cells and xenografts. The specific Alu probe we utilised, which corresponds to the consensus sequence of human Alu repeats was evaluated by southern blot hybridisation of zoo blot and by in situ hybridisation of primary and neoplastic cells from man, rat, mouse, and hamster. This method allows a definite identification of human cells in neural xenografts and, in combination with additional in situ techniques, a further detection of grafted cells.

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