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Procedures for Sample Acquisition and Distribution for The Human Brain Collection Core

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03092687
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 28, 2017
Last Update Posted : March 21, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) )

Brief Summary:


The Human Brain Collection Core (HBCC) collects brain and other tissues. They get these from deceased people who may or may not have had psychiatric disorders. The next of kin gives permission for researchers to get the tissues. Researchers want to collect medical details of people whose brains are donated. They also want to use the donated tissue to study brain chemistry and structure. This could lead to better treatments for mental illness.


To create a collection of human brain tissue to learn about the causes and mechanisms of mental disorders.


People willing to donate their deceased relative s brain tissue. The deceased person could not have had any of the following:

Severe mental retardation

Long-lasting seizure disorder

Infections that affect the brain


Brain damage

Being on a respirator for more than 12 hours

Major sepsis

Serious renal or hepatic disease

Certain dementias and degenerative diseases


Medical Examiner s Offices will screen donors who have recently died. Some others will be screened by hospitals or funeral homes.

Participants will be the next of kin. They will give consent for HBCC to obtain brain tissue from the deceased person. The tissue will be frozen for future research.

Participants will have a 30-minute phone call. They will answer questions about the deceased person s medical and psychiatric conditions. They will answer questions about the person s use of medicines and drugs.

Participants will be contacted by a social worker. They will be asked for permission to access the deceased person s medical records.

Condition or disease
Schizophrenia Major Depression Bipolar Disorder PTSD

Detailed Description:

Objective: The mission of Human Brain Collection Core (HBCC) is to gain insight into the causes and mechanisms of mental disorders.

Study Population: To be able to conduct this research, we obtain brain and other tissues from deceased individuals with and without psychiatric disorders.

Study Design: This protocol provides the ethical and scientific framework for tissue donations through referrals from Offices of the Chief Medical Examiners, hospitals or funeral homes. The next of kin are contacted to give permission for brain donation from the deceased. Once the tissue is obtained, it is frozen, catalogued and processed for distribution to other researchers and for in-house analysis. The HBCC dissects specific brain tissues based on request. All collaborations are subject to approval by an oversight committee. Currently, HBCC can leverage over 1,000 brains from a variety of psychiatric disorders and non-psychiatric subjects.

Outcome measures: Outcomes vary with specific collaborations, but include characterization of DNA, RNA, protein and other brain constituents that provide unique information at the molecular level. The data thus obtained are expected to provide new insights into brain physiology and the molecular pathology of psychiatric disorders, possibly leading to the identification of new therapeutic targets.

Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 2500 participants
Observational Model: Case-Control
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: Procedures for Sample Acquisition and Distribution for The Human Brain Collection Core
Anticipated Study Start Date : March 26, 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date : January 1, 2040
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2040

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Mental Disorders
U.S. FDA Resources

psychiatric disorders
decedents with and without psychiatric use disorders
substance disorders
decedents with and without substance use disorders

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. To accumulate a vast repository of human brain tissues and characterize molecular signatures of psychiatric disorders using techniques such as genome-wide association analyses, DNA methylation, acetylation and chromatin modification patterns, RN... [ Time Frame: ongoing ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   up to 120 Years   (Child, Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
community samples

Brain tissue is needed from individuals suffering from a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, suicide, bipolar disorder, depression, and substance use disorders (cocaine, alcohol, heroin or the like). In addition, brains from individuals without a history of neuropsychiatric disease will be needed as controls.


An assessment is carried out on the information available from the referral source (generally a Medical Examiner s Office) prior to obtaining consent. This information is usually very succinct, indicating how the decedent was found and, if known, whether they had some psychiatric or obvious medical history. The following cases will be

excluded from collection:

  • Severe mental retardation.
  • Well documented, long lasting seizure disorder.
  • Infections known to affect the brain such as syphilis, tuberculosis, with the exception of HIV infection.
  • The body is decomposed. We consider collecting the brain up to three days after death.
  • There is obvious damage to the brain by closed head injury or other trauma (gunshot wound, fall, etc.).
  • There are brain infarcts, hemorrhages, tumors, stroke, or other brain lesions that destroy the normal brain structure.
  • The patient has been maintained on a respirator (ventilator) for more than 12 hours in the period immediately prior to death.
  • Major sepsis.
  • Serious renal or hepatic disease.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer s disease and other dementias and degenerative diseases.
  • Known infection with Hepatitis C

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03092687

Contact: Stefano Marenco, M.D. (301) 435-8964 marencos@mail.nih.gov

United States, Maryland
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Stefano Marenco, M.D. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Responsible Party: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03092687     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 999917073
First Posted: March 28, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 21, 2018
Last Verified: March 12, 2018

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ):
Mental Illness
Normal Development

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Bipolar Disorder
Depressive Disorder, Major
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
Mental Disorders
Bipolar and Related Disorders
Depressive Disorder
Mood Disorders