Evaluation of Sensitivity, Performance and Reproducibility of Microarray Technology in Neuronal Tissue

Evans, S. J.; Watson, S. J.; Akil, H.
Integrative and Comparative Biology. 2003; 43(6):780-785.


Microarray technology is a powerful technique that allows the simultaneous study of thousands of gene transcripts. During the past two years there has been an explosion of publications describing experiments utilizing microarray technology that range from original research findings from biological paradigms to mathematically modeled systems. However, neuroscientists using microarray technology face significant challenges due to high tissue complexity, low abundance transcripts, and small magnitude changes in transcript levels that have significant biological impact. This manuscript describes a series of studies designed to address issues regarding microarray sensitivity, ability of microarrays to detect subtle changes, and reproducibility of microarray experiments, all in the context of neuronal tissue. From the presentation of these studies, the authors argue that although microarray technology is limited with regards to sensitivity, the outcome of these experiments, if approached with appropriate skepticism, can be fruitful in the generation of hypotheses and seeding of future experiments.