University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Department of Neurology
Brain Bank Coordinator
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
1501 NW 9th Avenue, Room 4013
Miami, FL 33136
Sample types available
Fresh quick-frozen tissue blocks or coronal sections (nitrogen vapor or dry-ice frozen)
Passive frozen hemispheres (dissection of specific anatomic regions)
Formalin-fixed hemispheres (specific anatomic regions)
The fresh quick-frozen specimens are optimally preserved with minimal ice artifact formation. These specimens are suitable for the widest variety of applications, including receptor binding, immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, virus detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA sequencing, mRNA isolation, and certain neurochemical assays.
Protocol for retrieval of fresh human brain and spinal cord tissue:
Important: Please ensure that the donor is refrigerated until the time of retrieval. If no cooler is available, please pack the head in wet ice until the brain autopsy is performed.
The Brain Bank staff must be alerted before the retrieval is started in order to coordinate pickup by the courier service. Please be prepared to give a time at which the tissue will be ready for pickup.
Before commencing brain retrieval:
Secure a sample of hair from the back of the head. Hair should be pulled or plucked and not cut, in order to obtain a full-length sample including the root or follicle. Rongeurs may be used for this purpose. Fold the foil carefully over the hair sample and place it in the envelope.
Important: Do not place the hair sample inside the cooler. Place it on top of the sealed cooler with the paperwork for the case.
Have ready: Syringe and tube for cerebrospinal fluid retrieval; long, curved double blunt scissors or scalpel.
After opening the calvarium, carefully cut through the dura. Withdraw 5 to 10 milliliters of clear cerebrospinal fluid from the 3rd ventricle or from the area adjacent to the spinal cord behind the tentorium. This is to be placed in a plastic tube and included with the tissue.
Cut through the tentorium to free the cerebellum. With scissors or scalpel, cut through the cervical cord as far down the shaft of the spinal column as possible, so as to include the C1 portion of spinal cord with the brain.
Weigh the brain and place in a plastic bag. Close securely. Place this bag in a second bag and close securely. Place the double-bagged brain tissue in the plastic bucket.
Remove the pituitary and place in a 15-milliliter tube or container. Place both the pituitary and cerebrospinal fluid tubes in a Ziploc bag.
Spinal Cord Retrieval:
When using the spinal saw, cut through the spine as far down the side as is feasible, in order to expose the dorsal root ganglia.
When the cord is fully exposed, loosen the ganglia gently with a scalpel before removing the cord.
Secure the entire spinal cord, including the cauda equina, and place in a plastic bag. The best method to prevent damage is to coil the cord in a circle or spiral. Close the bag securely and place in a second plastic bag. Close this bag and place cord in the plastic bucket on top of the brain.
Close the bucket securely and place entire bucket in a plastic bag. Close bag and place in the lined styrofoam cooler.
Put the Ziploc bag containing the cerebrospinal fluid and pituitary tubes into the cooler with the brain.
Fill cooler with chipped or cubed wet ice, or frozen refrigerant cooling blocks ("blue ice"), surrounding the bucket, including the cover
Secure the liner bag. Place the lid on the cooler and tape securely. Place cooler in shipping box and place hair sample and accession forms on top.
Tape box shut and label as "Exempt Human Tissue." Courier will arrive to pick up the tissue at the scheduled time.
If you have questions at any time regarding the procedure, call 1-800-UMBRAIN (862-7246).
Data available for each sample
Pertinent data regarding the death
Neuropathological evaluation after death
Quantity of available samples
800 registered living donors who have consented to brain donation after death.
20 years' worth of donated samples including normal specimens; there are only a limited number of MS samples available, as MS is not the primary criteria for collection.
Who can request samples
Approved academic or industry researchers worldwide who are investigating neurodegenerative or neuropsychiatric diseases, as well as scientists involved in ongoing studies on the affects of aging.
No charge to researcher.
How to request samples
Complete the online application available at http://www.brainbank.med.miami.edu/x72.xml or call 1-800-UM-BRAIN.
Requirements associated with sample use
Utilization of UM Brain Bank tissue requires acknowledgement in scientific publications as well as submission of a copy of each publication that will be made available on this website.
Ongoing sample collection?
No publications pertaining to MS or related disorders listed as of May 3, 2012.