Olfactory cells via nasal biopsy reflect the developing brain in gene expression profiles: utility and limitation of the surrogate tissues in research for brain disorders

Neurosci Res. 2013 Dec;77(4):247-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2013.09.010. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Human olfactory cells obtained by rapid nasal biopsy have been suggested to be a good surrogate system to address brain disease-associated molecular changes. Nonetheless, whether use of this experimental strategy is justified remains unclear. Here we compared expression profiles of olfactory cells systematically with those from the brain tissues and other cells. Principal component analysis indicated that the expression profiles of olfactory cells are very different from those of blood cells, but are closer to those of stem cells, in particular mesenchymal stem cells, that can be differentiated into the cells of the central nervous system.

Keywords: ANCOVA; Analysis of Covariance; Bipolar disorder; GC-RMA; GC-content correction robust multi-array average; Gene expression profile; Lymphoblasts; Olfactory cells; PCA; RMA; Schizophrenia; Stem cells; principal component analysis; robust multi-array average.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Blood Cells / metabolism
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / pathology
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Transcriptome*