E. Fuller Torrey and Maree Webster, Stanley Medical

Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

The Stanley Brain Collection was established in 1994 to

collect postmortem brain tissue from individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar

disorder, major depression, and normal controls.  At this time, the

collection includes 430 specimens, approximately evenly divided among these four

diagnoses.  The tissue is collected by selected collaborating medical

examiners, with permission of the family, and processed in a uniform

manner.  One half of the brain is frozen, and the other half is fixed in

formalin.  Diagnoses are established by review of medical records and, when

needed, interviews with family members.

A collection of 60 brains, 16 matched from each of the four

diagnostic groups has been made available to researchers.  Called the

Neuropathology Consortium, over 100,000 blocks and sections of the Consortium

have been sent to 120 researchers around the world without charge.  We are

now considering what kind of a collection to create to be used primarily for

microarray analysis.  Would it be better to have a smaller closely matched

case-control series, e.g., 12 in each group? Or a less-well-matched but much

larger series, e.g., 40 in each group?  And what should the relative

priorities be for matching for such things as age, sex, race, pH, mode of death,

interval from death to refrigeration, interval from date to freezing of tissue,

and freezer storage time?

How should priorities for tissue allocation be

established?  Since microarrays require tissue blocks for the extraction of

RNA, there is a very limited amount of time in some structures of great interest

such as the hippocampus, amydala, and nucleus accumbens.


Maree Webster

E. Fuller Torrey