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Microdissection

The microdissection of human brain nuclei is based on a simple procedure, called the “micropunch technique”This technique was introduced in 1973 (Palkovits M: Isolated removal of hypothalamic or other brain nuclei of the rat, Brain Res 59: 449-450) to remove small, precisely localized areas from a rat’s brain.

Later, the technique was adapted for the microdissection of the human brain (Palkovits M, 1985, Neuromethods, Vol 1, eds: Boulton and Baker, Chapter 1, Humana Press, Clifton NJ, USA), and since 1992 the HBTB has been collecting and storing thousands of microdissected human brain nuclei and areas.

Since 2012 the HBTB is supported by the Semmelweis University.

Basic conditions for microdissections of brain samples

  1. Standard technical conditions are required
  2. Information about the post mortem delay
    • microdissection with the lowest post mortem delay
    • control of the post mortem changes by using neurosurgical brain samples with “0 hour” post mortem delay
  3. The optimal size (weight) of the brain samples should be decided before dissection (macro- or microdissection?)
  4. The optimal number of brain samples
    • optimal number for statistical analysis
    • optimal number to be representative for the whole brain
  5. Storage of the dissected brain samples in proper conditions
  6. Basic neuroanatomical and histological knowledge about the brain samples (cellular homogeneity, neuronal density, gray/white matter ratio, vascular density) to be dissected

Basic requirements for microdissections of human brain samples

Basic information about:

  1. the cause of death
  2. the condition of death (duration of the agony)
  3. any long-term disease (medical report)
  4. medical treatments before death (medical report)
  5. drug abuse, alcoholism, smoking, etc. (family report)
  6. pathological report
  7. neuropathological report

Special points that should be taken into account for dissecting and collecting brain samples appropriate to the research plan differences can be made by:

  1. sex
  2. age
  3. lateralization of the brain

Microdissections of brain samples from persons with neurodegenerative or psychiatric disorders:

  1. correct and well-documented neurological or psychiatric reports about the
    • diagnosis
    • duration of the disease
    • long-term medical treatments
  2. to investigate neurological or psychiatric disorders by using microdissection, appropriatecontrol microdissected samples are required (comparable brain samples from persons died without neurodegenerative or psychiatric disorders: sudden death, traffic accidents, etc.)