I'm studying depression from a biochemical point of view. My interest lies in the study of protein biomarkers and I was wondering which cell lines may be appropriate for this purpose. It is not important that the biomarkers occur in easily accessible tissue or matrices, as this is not the exploration of a new diagnostic method. Rather, it is important to obtain the most accurate information possible about protein expression in the neuronal environment, where depression is supposed to occur.
In my literature research, I came across two quite commonly used cell lines, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Let's have a look at them:
LCL cells are produced by infecting lymphocytes with the Epstein-Barr virus.
- They are relatively easy to have produced individually, so it is perfectly possible to get cell lines from patients with a diagnosed depression and from patients that are very unlikely to be depressed.
- They were already used for studying depression-related topics [1, 2]
- LCL cells are not neuronal cells, which means that they might (and probably will) express a different set of proteins than neuronal cells.
SH-SY5Y cells were subcloned from a cell line that was isolated from a bone marrow biopsy taken from a four-year-old female with neuroblastoma. The subclones were chosen such that individual cells with neuron-like characteristics were selected.
- One could argue that SH-SY5Y cells are pseudo-neuronal cells, which is why they are commonly used to study neuronal diseases such as Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. [3, 4]
- The cell line is not personalized, i.e., it's impossible to get cells from depressed and non-depressed patients, thus it's tricky to find biomarkers for depression, if you cannot compare a "healthy" with an "unhealthy" protein expression.
Do you know any readily available cell line that could be used to find differentially expressed proteins in depressed subjects that is close to neuronal cells? Neuronal cells from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF-contacting neurons) would probably be the best one could get from living subjects, but the setup of an approveable study and the recruitment of subjects that voluntarily accept a lumbar puncture is a bit tricky to say the least.