Edinburgh Brain Bank News Update

colourful image of cells

Jun 2019: So far 64 people with MS have consented to donate their brain tissue to our brain bank when they die and 6 donations have been received. Results from research using donations are now beginning to be published. 

The MRC Edinburgh Brain and Tissue Bank is the only brain bank in Scotland.

The Bank collects tissue from people with various illnesses and diseases, including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, prion disease and dementia. Donated tissue is made available to researchers in the UK and around the world who are working towards finding treatments and cures for these diseases.

The Bank is extremely grateful for all donations, which make an incredibly valuable contribution to research.

Tissue from the bank is being put to very good use. It has recently been used in research to compare brain cells from people with MS and people without. Researchers found that oligodendrocytes, the cells that make the myelin surrounding nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, are different in people with MS compared with those in people with healthy brains. This suggests they may not function as well, which might explain why myelin is not repaired well in progressive forms of MS. This work was done as a collaboration between researchers at the Centre of Regenerative Medicine at The University of Edinburgh, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Roche, Switzerland and was published in a very prestigious journal called Nature.

Another article has been published using our tissue, showing that oligodendrocyte precursor cells from people with progressive MS behave as if they are older than they should be. Again this might explain why they don’t repair myelin as well as expected.

Related Links

Find out more about brain banking.

Link to details of the article in Nature

Link to details of research into oligodendrocyte precursor cells.  

This article was published on: Monday, June 10, 2019