Assessment of factors that confound MRI and neuropathological correlation of human postmortem brain tissue
In spite of considerable technical advance in MRI techniques, the optical resolution of these methods are still limited. Consequently, the delineation of cytoarchitectonic fields based on probabilistic maps and brain volume changes, as well as small-scale changes seen in MRI scans need to be verified by neuronanatomical/neuropathological diagnostic tools. To attend the current interdisciplinary needs of the scientific community, brain banks have to broaden their scope in order to provide high quality tissue suitable for neuroimaging- neuropathology/anatomy correlation studies. The Brain Bank of the Brazilian Aging Brain Research Group (BBBABSG) of the University of Sao Paulo Medical School (USPMS) collaborates with researchers interested in neuroimaging-neuropathological correlation studies providing brains submitted to postmortem MRI in-situ. In this paper we describe and discuss the parameters established by the BBBABSG to select and to handle brains for fine-scale neuroimaging-neuropathological correlation studies, and to exclude inappropriate/unsuitable autopsy brains. We tried to assess the impact of the postmortem time and storage of the corpse on the quality of the MRI scans and to establish fixation protocols that are the most appropriate to these correlation studies. After investigation of a total of 36 brains, postmortem interval and low body temperature proved to be the main factors determining the quality of routine MRI protocols. Perfusion fixation of the brains after autopsy by mannitol 20% followed by formalin 20% was the best method for preserving the original brain shape and volume, and for allowing further routine and immunohistochemical staining. Taken to together, these parameters offer a methodological progress in screening and processing of human postmortem tissue in order to guarantee high quality material for unbiased correlation studies and to avoid expenditures by post-imaging analyses and histological processing of brain tissue.
KeywordsBrain Banking Postmortem MRI Neuropathology Confounder
Brain Bank of the Brazilian Aging Brain Research Group
Diffusion tensor imaging
Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery
Glial fibrillary acidic protein
Magnetic resonance imaging
Positron emission tomography
University of Sao Paulo Medical School
We would like to acknowledge the brain donors and their families, the autopsy service and Hospital das Clinicas staff and the students from the Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group. We are grateful to Keely Smith for critical review of the English. Support for this work was provided by Albert Einstein Research and Education Institute and Coordenadoria de Apoio ao Pessoal de Nivel Superior—CAPES Scholarship (to LTG, REPL, ATLA) and FAPESP (grant 06/55318-1). This study was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Radiology and Autopsy Service—University of Sao Paulo Medical School, the Laboratory of Morphological Brain Research of the Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Julius-Maximilians-University of Wuerzburg, and The Alzheimer Memorial Center Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich.
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