The use of real-time PCR analysis in a gene expression study of Alzheimer's disease post-mortem brains

Ramana V. Gutala, P. Hemachandra Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The measurement of gene expressions in brains with neurodegenerative diseases is a major area of brain research. The objective of our research was to determine whether quantitative real-time PCR could measure messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in brains with post-mortem intervals beyond 12h. In the present paper, we examined the quality of RNA from brain specimens of both Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients (n=13) and non-demented normal control subjects (n=6). To determine a unregulated endogenous reference gene in AD, we measured mRNA expressions of the commonly used reference genes β-actin, 18S rRNA, and GAPDH. In addition, we determined whether post-mortem interval, brain weight, or age at death influences mRNA expression. Our real-time PCR analysis results indicate that mRNA expression can be detected in all brain specimens for β-actin, 18S rRNA, GAPDH, and also synaptophysin, a known marker for AD. Further, using real-time PCR analysis, we found that β-actin and 18S rRNA are differentially expressed in the brain specimens of both AD and control subjects, while GAPDH is similarly expressed in AD and control brain specimens. These findings suggest that GAPDH can be used as a endogenous reference gene in the study of AD brains. A comparative gene expression analysis also suggests that synaptophysin is down-regulated in AD brain specimens compared to control brain specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Gene expression
  • Post-mortem brains
  • Real-time PCR
  • β-Actin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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