Dissemination of MS tissue
Applications for MS tissue are currently guided by a PhD student who is specifically appointed for this work at the NBB-MS. This PhD student also characterizes all MS tissue blocks and selects MS donors and tissue blocks that are optimal to address the specific research questions of the MS tissue applicant. This MS neuropathological expertise is crucial for optimal MS tissue dissemination.
A technician manages the digital scans of the stainings and the MS D-base. Photographs of paraffin sections, in which the lesion stage is indicated in numbers 1–6 and subscores for phagocytes (1–3) (see figure and table here) are sent to applicants of MS tissue so they can choose the best from an optimal selection. Note, in many cases more types of lesions are present in one block, therefore it is impossible to provide for example 10 active and 10 inactive lesions, which in fact is the most frequent request. Thus, information on the, often complex, pathology of the blocks is crucial. For some research questions the data on MS lesion activity that is collected from all tissue blocks that were dissected from the MS donors is useful for the tissue selection. For example to compare myelin in normal appearing white matter from donors with severe disease course, high lesion load and high percentage of chronic active lesions with MS donors that had a less severe disease course, low percentage of chronic active lesions, and low lesion load.
((Currently, we are designing a new autopsy D-base that has a field to add multiple photographs of MS tissue blocks per donor, which in the current D-base is difficult. This will allow in the future selection of tissue by (neuropathological experienced) researchers based on the digital scans of the stained sections and the pathological and clinical donor information. Scanning of the sections is currently outsourced at the Amsterdam UMC.)) ???
The NBB has a tissue advisory Board that evaluates all tissue applications (see: https://www.brainbank.nl/brain-tissue/application/) and applications are valuated based on scientific feasibility (40%), quality of the applicant and research group (40%) and urgency of the research (20%), and dissemination fully depends on availability of the requested tissue. MS brain tissue is worldwide scarce and an independent audit committee of NBB-MS advised (Febr. 2017) to secure the tissue collection from scattering. Therefore 25% of the MS tissue per donor, 25% of the different types of MS lesions, and 25% of the donors with extreme MS pathology phenotypes are secured from tissue dissemination, and this is also indicated at NBB’s website. These stocks are subject of analysis by the MS pathology taskforce of MS-Neth. The aim of NBB-MS is to disseminate as much tissue as possible and up to today NBB-MS has been able to grant all MS tissue applications, though not in all cases the number of blocks requested.