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Anal Biochem. 2009 Aug 15;391(2):91-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2009.05.026. Epub 2009 May 21.

Detection of stable reference genes for real-time PCR analysis in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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Department of Human Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


Gene expression studies using postmortem human brain tissue are a common tool for studying the etiology of psychiatric disorders. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is an accurate and sensitive technique used for gene expression analysis in which the expression level is quantified by normalization to one or more reference genes. Therefore, accurate data normalization is critical for validating results obtained by qPCR. This study aimed to identify genes that may serve as reference in postmortem dorsolateral-prefrontal cortices (Brodmann's area 46) of schizophrenics, bipolar disorder (BPD) patients, and control subjects. In the exploratory stage of the analysis, samples of four BPD patients, two schizophrenics, and two controls were quantified using the TaqMan Low Density Array endogenous control panel, containing assays for 16 commonly used reference genes. In the next stage, six of these genes (TFRC, RPLP0, ACTB, POLR2a, B2M, and GAPDH) were quantified by qPCR in 12 samples of each clinical group. Expressional stability of the genes was determined by GeNorm and NormFinder. TFRC and RPLP0 were the most stably expressed genes, whereas the commonly used 18S, POLR2a, and GAPDH were the least stable. This report stresses the importance of examining expressional stability of candidate reference genes in the specific sample collection to be analyzed.

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