Visualization of interphase chromosomes in postmitotic cells of the human brain by multicolour banding (MCB)
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Molecular cytogenetics offers the unique possibility of investigating numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations in interphase nuclei of somatic cells. Previous fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) investigations gave hints of numerical chromosomal imbalances in the human brain, present as low-level mosaicism. However, as precise identification of aneuploidy rates in somatic tissues faces major difficulties due to the limitations of FISH using whole chromosome painting or centromeric probes, in this study low-level mosaicism in the human brain was addressed for the first time using microdissection-based multicolour banding (MCB) probe sets. We demonstrated that MCB is suitable for this application and leads to more reliable results than the use of centromeric probes in parallel on the same samples. Autosomes and the active X chromosome appear as discrete metaphase chromosome-like structures, while the inactive X chromosome is condensed in more than 95% of interphase nuclei. The frequency of stochastic aneuploidy was found to be 0.2–0.5% (mean 0.35%) per autosome pair, 2% for the X chromosome in the female brain, and 0.4% in the male brain, giving a cumulative frequency of aneuploidy of approximately 10% in the adult brain. Moreover, MCB as well as multi-probe FISH using centromeric probes revealed associated signals in a large proportion of brain cells (10–40%). While co-localized signals could not be discriminated from numerical chromosome imbalances after FISH using centromeric probes, interphase MCB allows such differentiation. In summary, MCB is the only approach available at present that provides the possibility of characterizing the chromosomal integrity of arbitrary interphase cell populations. Thus, cytogenetics is no longer limited in its application to dividing cells, which is a great step forward for brain research.
Key wordsaneuploidy fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) human brain interphase chromosomes multicolour banding (MCB)
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