Brain Tissue Repository for Researchers

Tissues accumulated in the Oregon Brain Bank are made available to researchers according to established protocols.  Tissues are collected and diagnoses are established using procedures that are shared between the Neuropathology Cores of the Oregon Health & Sciences University and the University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Centers.


The Neuropathology Core of the Oregon Health & Sciences University and the University of Washington Alzheimer's Disease Centers have embarked on a unique cooperative endeavor (the “Pacific Northwest Dementia and Aging Neuropathology Group” or “PaNDA”) to better serve the neurodegenerative research community.

Beginning in 2003, these independent cores agreed to standardize a variety of parameters such as tissue collection, histochemical and immunohistochemical staining protocols, diagnostic criteria and reporting, with the goal of minimizing the inherent variability in the diagnosis and classification of these complex neurodegenerative disorders. As a result, this collaborative venture promises to facilitate future clinicopathologic studies while increasing the availability of well-characterized, and consistently-characterized tissue resources to the neuroscience community.


The OHSU and UW neuropathology cores have been in operation for more than 15 years with overlapping but complementary focuses. OHSU studies have been directed to patients demonstrating healthy aging, while those at UW are on familial forms of dementia; both groups have collected materials on a variety of geriatric dementias.

Tissue Requests

Requests for tissue from the Oregon Brain Bank should be directed to Dr. Randall Woltjer. Dr. Woltjer will be glad to communicate with investigators regarding their tissue needs and to assist them in identifying suitable materials for their studies. Material Transfer Agreements between the requesting and sending institutions are needed before shipment.

Dr. Randall L. Woltjer
Oregon Brain Bank, OHSU
Department of Pathology L113
Portland, OR 97239
Phone: 503 494-8276

Requests for tissue from Harborview Medical Center should be directed to the Neuropathlogy Department at the University of Washington. Material Transfer Agreements between the requesting and sending institutions are needed before shipment.

Harborview Medical Center
325 Ninth Avenue, Box359791
Seattle, Washington 98104
Phone: 206 731-6315
Fax: 206 731-8240


These are human tissues and as such must be considered potentially infectious. Establishment of a diagnosis does not exclude the possibility of concomitant additional processes.


Flash-frozen tissues for potential biochemical and molecular biologic studies are obtained from nearly all cases, with extensive sampling in select instances. In most cases, 22 sections are taken following formalin fixation from all lobes of the left and right hemispheres, the white matter, deep gray structures, brainstem, cerebellum and spinal cord (as available). The sections are routinely stained with hematoxylin and eosin / Luxol fast blue, Bielschowski silver staining, Congo Red, and for hyperphosphorylated tau and a-synuclein by immunohistochemistry.

This degree of sampling allows classification based on the NIA-Reagan Institute criteria for AD pathologic changes (Working Group on Molecular and Biochemical Markers of Alzheimer's Disease, 1998), Dementia with Lewy Bodies consensus criteria (Consensus guidelines for the clinical and pathologic diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB Consortium on DLB International Workshop, 1996), Frontotemporal Dementia consensus criteria (Work Group on Frontotemporal Dementia and Pick's Disease, 2000), Braak staging of Lewy bodies (Braak, H. et al., 2003), and the Honolulu Asian-American Study criteria for microvascular lesions (White, L, et al., 2002).

Standardization of neuropathologic interpretation between the two institutions is achieved by the review of individual cases by neuropathologists from each NP core, as well as the participation of the neuropathologists in monthly clinical and pathologic correlative conferences held at each Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Flash Freezing Protocol

Midfrontal gyrus
Inferior parietal lobule
Posterior superior temporal gyrus
Primary visual cortex
Hippocampus (rostral to caudal)
Putamen (1 precommissural, 1 at anterior commissure, 1 postcommissural)
Globus pallidus (1 precommissural, 1 at anterior commissure, 1 postcommissural)
Caudate (1 precommissural, 1 at anterior commissure, 1 postcommissural)
Midbrain (rostral to caudal)
Pons (rostral to caudal with first including the locus ceruleus)
Medulla (rostral to caudal)
Cerebellar cortex

Fixed Tissue Protocol

right mid frontal gyru
left mid frontal gyrus
frontal lobe white matter (1cm anterior to lat vent)
right inferior parietal lobule
left inferior parietal lobule
right superior and middle temporal gyrus
left superior and middle temporal gyrus
anterior cingulate gyrus
right primary visual cortex
left primary visual cortex
hippocampus at level of uncus
hippocampus at the level of the lateral geniculate
amygdala right
striatum at the level of the anterior commissure
left striatum at the level of the anterior commissure
right thalamus
left thalamus
midbrain with substantia nigra
cerebellar cortex
spinal cord/pituitary (as available)