Brain collection

The Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is responsible for a Collection of postmortem brain samples from subjects with mental illness and controls. This collection meets the legal requirements set forth in the Biomedical Research Law (2007) and is registered in the official Register of the Carlos III Health Institute with number 35.

The obtaining and use of the samples is governed by the Law 14/2007, RD 1716/2011 (BOE of December 2) and the Collaboration Agreement signed between the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU and the Basque Institute of Legal Medicine. The samples are transferred under conditions of reversible dissociation, so personal data is not provided to those responsible for the collection.

This collection of brain samples constitutes an external Platform of CIBERSAM, an entity which the group that owns the collection belongs to.

The collection currently has samples from several brain regions (prefrontal cortex, caudate nucleus, hippocampus, and cerebellum) corresponding to more than 1,400 subjects. By psychiatric entities, the collection includes samples from approximately 250 subjects with depression, 200 with schizophrenia, 80 with bipolar disorder, 75 with personality disorders, 200 with alcohol abuse disorders, 75 people with polysubstance drug abuse, 100 subjects with other psychiatric pathologies and 400 controls. All included subjects have an antemortem psychiatric diagnosis based on DSM or ICD criteria and performed by their corresponding psychiatrists.

The toxicological levels of drugs and substances of abuse in the blood at the time of the autopsy are available for all the samples included in the collection. For several of them, toxicological levels of psychotropic drugs in the brain, carried out by the Central Analysis Service (SGIKER) of the UPV/EHU, are also available. For most samples brain pH (mean 6.44 ± 0.04) and RIN (mean 8.16 ± 0.12) values are also available.

The samples could be used only for research studies in the context of scientific collaborations with the research group that owns the collection. The agreements signed with the source institutions of the samples do not allow the transfer to third parties through the usual models used by Biobanks.

Those research groups that wish to have access to the samples should contact the Neuropsychopharmacology group, through the contact outlined below.

The general conditions for the transfer of samples are as follows:

  • The development of the Project in the section corresponding to the use of postmortem brain samples must be carried out in collaboration between the applicant group and the Neuropsychopharmacology group of the UPV/EHU. From the legal point of view, it is not a transfer from a Biobank, but rather it has the specific legal requirements established for collections kept outside the scope of Biobanks.

  • The costs of transporting the samples will be paid by the applicant research group. The shipment will be carried out according to the conditions established by the Neuropsychopharmacology group of the UPV/EHU. In shipments, it must be ensured that the transport conditions do not affect the quality of the samples and are carried out under the legal regulations for this type of material.

  • The samples can be only used for the agreed research Project. No other additional studies can be performed with the samples without previous authorization of the Neuropsychopharmacology group of the UPV/EHU. The samples will not be used in any case for commercial purposes neither for any agreement, collaboration or contract with a company.

  • Samples will be deliver to the applicant scientific group and no transfer to third parts or sharing with any other group or person different from the applicant group is permitted.

  • According to the Spanish regulations, the group source of samples is responsible for preliminary Ethical conditions related to the search of the will of the deceased person. This was fulfilled before the samples were incorporated to the Brain collection and does not include the use of samples but only the obtaining. Complementary, the approval of the specific Project by the Ethical Committee of the Institution where the Research will be performed, is also mandatory for the Spanish Regulations. Therefore, please apply for the evaluation by your Ethical Committee and provide us a copy of the final decision.

  • In the publications and any other form of dissemination of the scientific results to which the research works resulting from the use of the samples give rise, the origin of the samples must be recognized and mentioned. The participation of the Basque Institute of Legal Medicine, as well as the financial support that makes it possible to obtain, maintain and manage the collection should be acknowledged.

  • There are conditions agreed between the UPV/EHU and the Basque Institute of Legal Medicine regarding the potential expert use of the results of the research activity carried out with the assigned samples, the intellectual property rights and the derived industrial protection. The collaboration between the applicant group and the Neuropsychopharmacology group of the UPV/EHU will be developed under these conditions.

For additional information, send your request and contact.