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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2003 Aug 19;116(1-2):7-16.

An optimistic view for quantifying mRNA in post-mortem human brain.

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Quantuum, Departamento de Neurología, Rua das Branas 7-Bajo-D, 15177 Mera, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain.


Quantitative human mRNA data are derived from post-mortem or biopsied tissue. RNA degradation, poor replication, a large mRNA variance and confounding factors such as brain pH and age of death are often cited, however, as objections to the data's reliability. A central question is whether post-mortem human mRNA can be treated as a statistically ordered system. TaqMan real-time RT-PCR was used to measure seven mRNAs in 513 cortical samples taken from 90 Alzheimer's disease and 81 control brains. Despite a high mRNA variance strong correlations were found between the mRNA transcripts in a single brain. Where a brain has a high/low level of one mRNA, the same brain invariably has a high/low level of other mRNAs; correlated order is present and allows removal of that source of variation common to all genes. Although levels of mRNA are highly variable between subjects (>1000-fold), quantitative order is present in post-mortem human mRNA, allowing effects due to pathology or gender to be isolated and tested for significance.

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