In previous years, the modest brain tissue needs of the Columbia Udall Center investigators were met by the NYBBCU under the direction of Dr Jean Paul Vonsattel. Up until now, the NYBBCU has been an entirely separate entity from the Udall Center at Columbia. In this renewal application, with its greater translational emphasis, the Udall Projects anticipate a greater need for brain tissue, and for tissue that has been characterized more extensively, both with regard to synuclein immunostaining and genetic analysis. To meet these new needs, we have now incorporated this Brain Bank Core, under the direction of Dr. Vonsattel, into our Udall Center. The Brain Bank Core will provide both morphologically and genetically characterized tissues, as either paraffin embedded or frozen sections, to Columbia Udall Center investigators. The morphologic characterization will be performed by Dr Vonsattel, and the genetic characterization will be performed by Dr. Lorraine Clark. For Center investigators, Drs Vonsattel and Clark will provide not only tissues from patients with PD, DLB, disease controls and normal age-matched controls, but also tissues from subjects with incidental Lewy pathology. There is emerging evidence that such tissues may represent "pre-clinical" PD, and in such case they will provide morphologic and biochemical information about the early features of disease. They will thereby be more likely to shed light on pathogenesis than end stage tissues. These well-characterized specimens will be made available not only to Columbia Center investigators, but also other Udall Centers and the wider neuroscience community.
In order to understand the cause of PD, it is essential to study human brain tissues derived from affected individuals. This is the only way to begin to identify the changes in the brain that underlie the loss of neurons that is responsible for the neurologic disabilites. In addtion, such brain tissue is required to determine if experimental models of PD, such as mouse models, that are so important for research, do in fact accurately reflect disease conditions. This Core will provide such human brain tissues.
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