Neurons with Complex Karyotypes Are Rare in Aged Human Neocortex

Cell Rep. 2019 Jan 22;26(4):825-835.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.12.107.


A subset of human neocortical neurons harbors complex karyotypes wherein megabase-scale copy-number variants (CNVs) alter allelic diversity. Divergent levels of neurons with complex karyotypes (CNV neurons) are reported in different individuals, yet genome-wide and familial studies implicitly assume a single brain genome when assessing the genetic risk architecture of neurological disease. We assembled a brain CNV atlas using a robust computational approach applied to a new dataset (>800 neurons from 5 neurotypical individuals) and to published data from 10 additional neurotypical individuals. The atlas reveals that the frequency of neocortical neurons with complex karyotypes varies widely among individuals, but this variability is not readily accounted for by tissue quality or CNV detection approach. Rather, the age of the individual is anti-correlated with CNV neuron frequency. Fewer CNV neurons are observed in aged individuals than in young individuals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging* / genetics
  • Aging* / metabolism
  • Aging* / pathology
  • DNA Copy Number Variations*
  • Female
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Karyotype*
  • Male
  • Neocortex* / metabolism
  • Neocortex* / pathology
  • Neurons* / metabolism
  • Neurons* / pathology