Concurrent cell type-specific isolation and profiling of mouse brains in inflammation and Alzheimer's disease

JCI Insight. 2018 Jul 12;3(13):e121109. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.121109.


Nonneuronal cell types in the CNS are increasingly implicated as critical players in brain health and disease. While gene expression profiling of bulk brain tissue is routinely used to examine alterations in the brain under various conditions, it does not capture changes that occur within single cell types or allow interrogation of crosstalk among cell types. To this end, we have developed a concurrent brain cell type acquisition (CoBrA) methodology, enabling the isolation and profiling of microglia, astrocytes, endothelia, and oligodendrocytes from a single adult mouse forebrain. By identifying and validating anti-ACSA-2 and anti-CD49a antibodies as cell surface markers for astrocytes and vascular endothelial cells, respectively, and using established antibodies to isolate microglia and oligodendrocytes, we document that these 4 major cell types are isolated with high purity and RNA quality. We validated our procedure by performing acute peripheral LPS challenge, while highlighting the underappreciated changes occurring in astrocytes and vascular endothelia in addition to microglia. Furthermore, we assessed cell type-specific gene expression changes in response to amyloid pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Our CoBrA methodology can be readily implemented to interrogate multiple CNS cell types in any mouse model at any age.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Expression profiling; Inflammation; Neurodegeneration; Neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Integrin alpha1
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology


  • Integrin alpha1
  • Membrane Proteins