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Collection of Epithelial Cells from Rodent Mammary Gland Via Laser Capture Microdissection Yielding High-Quality RNA Suitable for Microarray Analysis

John N McGinley, Zongjian Zhu, Weiqin Jiang and Henry J Thompson*

Author Affiliations

Cancer Prevention Laboratory, Colorado State University, 1173 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

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Biological Procedures Online 2010, 12:31-43  doi:10.1007/s12575-010-9026-8

Published: 3 March 2010


Laser capture microdissection (LCM) enables collection of cell populations highly enriched for specific cell types that have the potential of yielding critical information about physiological and pathophysiological processes. One use of cells collected by LCM is for gene expression profiling. Samples intended for transcript analyses should be of the highest quality possible. RNA degradation is an ever-present concern in molecular biological assays, and LCM is no exception. This paper identifies issues related to preparation, collection, and processing in a lipid-rich tissue, rodent mammary gland, in which the epithelial to stromal cell ratio is low and the stromal component is primarily adipocytes, a situation that presents numerous technical challenges for high-quality RNA isolation. Our goal was to improve the procedure so that a greater probe set present call rate would be obtained when isolated RNA was evaluated using Affymetrix microarrays. The results showed that the quality of RNA isolated from epithelial cells of both mammary gland and mammary adenocarcinomas was high with a probe set present call rate of 65% and a high signal-to-noise ratio.

Laser capture microdissection; Mammary epithelial cells; RNA quality