Fibroblast and lymphoblast gene expression profiles in schizophrenia: are non-neural cells informative?

PLoS One. 2008 Jun 11;3(6):e2412. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002412.


Lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and fibroblasts provide conveniently derived non-neuronal samples in which to investigate the aetiology of schizophrenia (SZ) using gene expression profiling. This assumes that heritable mechanisms associated with risk of SZ have systemic effects and result in changes to gene expression in all tissues. The broad aim of this and other similar studies is that comparison of the transcriptomes of non-neuronal tissues from SZ patients and healthy controls may identify gene/pathway dysregulation underpinning the neurobiological defects associated with SZ. Using microarrays consisting of 18,664 probes we compared gene expression profiles of LCLs from SZ cases and healthy controls. To identify robust associations with SZ that were not patient or tissue specific, we also examined fibroblasts from an independent series of SZ cases and controls using the same microarrays. In both tissue types ANOVA analysis returned approximately the number of differentially expressed genes expected by chance. No genes were significantly differentially expressed in either tissue when corrected for multiple testing. Even using relaxed parameters (p < or = 0.05, without multiple testing correction) there were still no differentially expressed genes that also displayed > or = 2-fold change between the groups of SZ cases and controls common to both LCLs and fibroblasts. We conclude that despite encouraging data from previous microarray studies assessing non-neural tissues, the lack of a convergent set of differentially expressed genes associated with SZ using fibroblasts and LCLs indicates the utility of non-neuronal tissues for detection of gene expression differences and/or pathways associated with SZ remains to be demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*