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Available tissue

The NBB can provide samples of more than 4000 autopsies of donors with a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders or non-demented controls. The NBB has an open access policy and researchers affiliated to universities, other non-profit organizations, and pharmaceutical companies from all over the world can apply for samples.

Tissue is dissected from different anatomical regions and stored in various ways. The NBB also provides CSF, plasma and sometimes the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia. On request, the specimens can be obtained fresh and placed in special media or fixatives according to the researcher’s protocol. DNA samples are available of part of the collection. Requests for specific brain areas are taken into account when performing autopsies.

The technical coordinator

The technical coordinator

The tissue is accompanied by anonymized donor information, including the neuropathological report and an extensive summary of the donor’s medical history. If requested, the tissue can be matched for ante-mortem parameters (e.g. age, sex, time and season of death, agonal state, pH, APO-E genotype) and post-mortem parameters (post-mortem delay, freezing or fixation procedure, storage time).

Online database access: e-NBB

The e-NBB provides online access to the NBB database. This enables researchers to find detailed information on current tissue availability. Furthermore, it is possible to make your own tissue selection, matched for ante-mortem and / or post-mortem parameters if necessary. To request tissue, this selection can be sent to the NBB together with the application form.

Tissue availability in general

Tissue is available in three main storage types: frozen, formalin-fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE), and culture medium (fresh samples). Upon request, paraffin sections (8 micron) or formalin-fixed (not paraffin embedded) samples can also be provided. The brain areas of which tissue is generally available are listed below.

Sample type

  • Cortex (Frontal, Temporal, Parietal, Occipital)
  • Hypothalamus
  • Hippocampus
  • Cerebellum
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Substantia nigra
  • Medulla oblongata
  • Striatum
  • Spinal cord
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Normal appearing white matter
  • MS lesions (active, inactive)
  • MS lesions dissected on MRI guidance
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Plasma
  • DNA
  • Microglial cells
  • Eyes (more information is available on the sub-page about eye donation)

Although the e-NBB provides the most recent and accurate information on tissue availability, this table provides a general overview of the availability levels of the different brain areas and types of storage, specified by diagnosis. Please note that for MS different brain areas are specified, because MS brains are dissected using a specific protocol.

Database mining

The NBB formulated guidelines for researchers who would like to analyse data from the NBB database, without the actual use of the brain tissue. For database mining projects, the NBB asks a financial contribution and acknowledgement of the intellectual investment in return.

For each project a minimal financial contribution of € 250 is asked, or more depending on the following criteria:

  • For the assistance of the technical coordinator of the NBB, the NBB charges € 25 per hour.
  • For the clinicopathological summaries, the NBB charges € 1 per summary;
  • For the analysis of the database, the NBB charges € 10 per keyword;

The NBB requests corporate authorship of the NBB for every publication that arises from the database analysis. Dr. Inge Huitinga, director of the NBB, will review the manuscripts. The NBB can be added to the author list as ‘Netherlands Brain Bank’, or in case of analysis of donors with a psychiatric diagnosis, "Netherlands Brain Bank for Psychiatry". A corporate author is preceded with a ; (not a , ). The affiliation of the NBB is: Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Meibergdreef 47, 1105 BA, Amsterdam. The NBB authorship guidelines contain more detailed information.

Browse the e-NBB for samplesAsk us about sample availability Read about how to request samples