The study of the brain is one of the most complex and essential studies within the field of medicine. While research in this area has increased over the past few decades, much remains unknown about how the brain functions and how damage to the brain can lead to different disorders and diseases. Brain tissue samples are an essential resource for the study of the brain’s anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology.
In this article, we will discuss what brain tissue samples are, the types of brain tissue samples, and their uses in research and clinical approaches.
3 Types of Brain Tissue
There are three different types of brain tissue samples: fresh, fresh frozen, and FFPE samples.
Fresh Brain Tissue Samples
Fresh brain tissue samples are taken either during surgery or after death, with minimal delay. However, fresh samples tend to have the shortest shelf-life and usually must be in use within a few hours.
Fresh Frozen Brain Tissue Samples
Fresh frozen brain tissue samples are typically obtained postmortem. A small portion of the tissue is initially preserved with a fixative, while the rest is snap-frozen to preserve the tissues’ molecular and biochemical integrity. This type of tissue sample can be stored for decades when appropriately processed and stored in archives. This storage makes it useful for research that requires long-term molecular or genomic analysis.
FFPE Brain Tissue Samples
FFPE brain samples are tissue types that are preserved in formalin for anatomical studies or diagnostic purposes. Tissue stored in FFPE blocks is useful for certain protein studies, while those extracted previously for diagnostic purposes can be used for research applications, albeit this may have to be done with limitations as staining and extraction techniques have limited accuracy.
How to Use Brain Tissue Samples in Research
Brain tissue samples are valuable resources that scientists can use in several research fields. These include research into the fundamental mechanisms of brain function, such as neuroplasticity and cellular signaling, as well as research into the causes and treatments of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Researchers can use brain tissue samples to study the impact of specific chemicals and drugs on the brain. Brain samples can also be used to study the anatomy of the brain and identify new neurons or areas of the brain with specific cellular properties. Brain tissue samples can also be useful in developing and testing new treatments for brain disorders. For example, scientists can use brain tissue samples to develop therapies for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Brain tissue samples are also useful in genetic research. Additionally, brain tissue samples are utilized for analysis of a patient’s genotype and its impact on the brain. This analysis can be useful in better understanding the genetic determinants of psychiatric and neurological disorders.
Use Brain Tissue Samples to Further Your Research and Scientific Discoveries
In summary, brain tissue samples are essential tools in neurological research. These samples can be used for an array of studies, from learning more about the basic mechanisms of the brain to developing new treatments for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. As more research is conducted in this area, it’s crucial to continue harvesting healthy brain tissue samples to unlock the mysteries of the brain.
We hope that this article helps you to better understand the importance of brain tissue samples in research and how they can be used to further our understanding of brain function and disease.