Information for Researchers

The objective of the Netherlands Brain Bank (NBB) is to supply the international scientific community with clinically and neuropathologically well-documented brain tissue of high quality. Our ultimate goal is to increase the knowledge on how the human brain works and to make treatment of brain diseases possible, by means of creating a better understanding of the human brain and the etiology and pathological mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric diseases.

The specimens collected by the NBB are obtained from donors with a variety of brain diseases. These include neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and multiple sclerosis (MS), and psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Furthermore, the NBB can supply samples from controls without neurological or psychiatric history. The specimens have a short post-mortem delay, mostly ranging from 2 to 10 hours.

The brain samples are supplied accompanied by extensive and anonymized background donor information, such as the neuropathological report and a summary of their medical history. Furthermore, if requested, the tissue is matched for many ante-mortem parameters (e.g. age, sex, time and season of death, agonal state, pH) and post-mortem parameters (post-mortem delay, freezing or fixation procedure, storage time).

The costs to procure, characterize, handle and provide tissue are very high and the NBB is almost completely dependent upon grants and donations. Therefore the researcher is asked to give a financial contribution to compensate for these costs.

Autopsy protocol
During the brain autopsy approximately 90 samples from different regions are collected from the brain and sometimes spinal cord. Depending on the clinical diagnosis and researchers' requests, the NBB dissects the brain into anatomically defined structured. Moreover, 18 brain areas from the other hemisphere are dissected to make the neuropathological diagnosis. These areas are fixated in buffered formalin for a month, after which further preparation takes place.

Example brain dissection (click to enlarge)

For more information on our procedures, we would like to refer you to our Information for Tissue Applicants.



Information for Tissue Applicants