Specific cell populations may have unique contributions to schizophrenia but may be missed in studies of homogenate tissue. Here laser capture microdissection followed by RNA sequencing (LCM-seq) was used to transcriptomically profile the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus (DG-GCL) in human hippocampus and contrast these data to those obtained from bulk hippocampal homogenate. We identified widespread cell-type-enriched aging and genetic effects in the DG-GCL that were either absent or directionally discordant in bulk hippocampus data. Of the ~9 million expression quantitative trait loci identified in the DG-GCL, 15% were not detected in bulk hippocampus, including 15 schizophrenia risk variants. We created transcriptome-wide association study genetic weights from the DG-GCL, which identified many schizophrenia-associated genetic signals not found in transcriptome-wide association studies from bulk hippocampus, including GRM3 and CACNA1C. These results highlight the improved biological resolution provided by targeted sampling strategies like LCM and complement homogenate and single-nucleus approaches in human brain.
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