Invited Key Lecture
Dr. Wilma D.J. van de Berg
Senior Neuroscientist | Chair section Clinical Neuroanatomy
Director Normal Aging Brain Bank | Board of Optical Microscopy Core Unit O|2 (AO2|M)
Dept. Anatomy and Neurosciences Amsterdam UMC, Location VUmc
The Normal Aging Brain Collection Amsterdam (NABCA): a comprehensive collection of MRI, neuropathological and morphometric datasets of the human brain
Wilma DJ van de Berg, Laura E Jonkman, Jeroen J Geurts
Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC, location VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Well-characterized, high-quality postmortem human brain tissue of non-neurological controls and patients with neurodegenerative disorders is a prerequisite for understanding disease mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and (dys)connectivity in the aging population. The ‘Normal Aging Brain Collection Amsterdam’ (NABCA) provides a comprehensive collection of post-mortem high-field MRI, neuropathological and morphometric datasets of non-neurological controls. By collecting 3D MR and optical imaging datasets of the same donor brain, we aim to provide the scientific community with a means to define post-mortem MRI signatures of neuropathological and molecular disease mechanisms and translate this knowledge to the clinical setting.
We have developed a protocol to collect postmortem human brain tissue with a short post-mortem delay (range 4-12h), in combination with uniform and comprehensive characterization with MRI and histopathology. The NABCA pipeline includes an in situ 3T MRI: 1) 3D-T1 for grey/white matter differentiation; 2) Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), for structural connectivity; 3) T2 and FLAIR for clinical reference and pathologic-anatomical differentiation. After MR imaging, the brain is removed from the skull and 80 tissue blocks are systematically dissected according to neuroanatomical definitions from the left hemisphere, snap frozen and stored at -80oC for molecular analysis. The right hemisphere is formalin-fixed and later scanned at 7T MRI, including: 3D-T1, FLAIR, T2 and SWI. From this hemisphere 40 paraffin-embedded blocks are collected and 15 are processed for immunohistochemistry. An extensive neuropathological assessment is performed using standardized protocols from Brain Net Europe by an experienced neuropathologist.
In 2016, the NABCA pipeline has been extended to include brains from donors with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), in collaboration with the VUmc Alzheimer Center and Netherlands Brain Bank. Currently, 40 non-neurological cases, 15 AD and 6 PD donors have been included with an average age at death of 74 years (range 59-93 years). The clinical, 3T and 7T MR imaging, neuropathological and morphometric data are available for research and education purposes to the (inter)national research community (www.nabca.eu).
- 1. Jonkman LE, Graaf YG, Bulk M, Kaaij E, Pouwels PJW, Barkhof F, Rozemuller AJM, van der Weerd L, Geurts JJG, van de Berg WDJ. Normal Aging Brain Collection Amsterdam (NABCA): A comprehensive collection of postmortem high-field imaging, neuropathological and morphometric datasets of non-neurological controls. Neuroimage Clin. 2019 Jan 29;22:101698. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101698.
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