Species and cell-type properties of classically defined human and rodent neurons and glia

Xiao Xu, Elitsa I. Stoyanova, Agata E. Lemiesz, Jie Xing, Deborah C Mash, Nathaniel Heintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Determination of the molecular properties of genetically targeted cell types has led to fundamental insights into mouse brain function and dysfunction. Here, we report an efficient strategy for precise exploration of gene expression and epigenetic events in specific cell types in a range of species, including postmortem human brain. We demonstrate that classically defined, homologous neuronal and glial cell types differ between rodent and human by the expression of hundreds of orthologous, cell specific genes. Confirmation that these genes are differentially active was obtained using epigenetic mapping and immunofluorescence localization. Studies of sixteen human postmortem brains revealed gender specific transcriptional differences, cell-specific molecular responses to aging, and the induction of a shared, robust response to an unknown external event evident in three donor samples. Our data establish a comprehensive approach for analysis of molecular events associated with specific circuits and cell types in a wide variety of human conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018


  • cerebellum
  • chromosomes
  • gene expression
  • human
  • human molecular variation
  • molecular evolution
  • mouse
  • neuroscience
  • rat
  • RNA-seq
  • tools and resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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