Tissue donations for multiple sclerosis research: Current state and suggestions for improvement

Patrick Vanderdonckt, Francesca Aloisi, Giancarlo Comi, Alexander De Bruyn, Hans Peter Hartung, Inge Huitinga, Tanja Kuhlmann, Claudia F. Lucchinetti, Imke Metz, Richard Reynolds, Hans Lassmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although major progress in multiple sclerosis research has been made during the last decades, key questions related to the cause and the mechanisms of brain and spinal cord pathology remain unresolved. These cover a broad range of topics, including disease aetiology, antigenic triggers of the immune response inside and/or outside the CNS and mechanisms of inflammation, demyelination neurodegeneration and tissue repair. Most of these questions can be addressed with novel molecular technologies in the injured CNS. Access to brain and spinal cord tissue from multiple sclerosis patients is, therefore, of critical importance. High-quality tissue is provided in part by the existing brain banks. However, material from early and highly active disease stages is limited. An initiative, realized under the patronage of the European Charcot Foundation, gathered together experts from different disciplines to analyse the current state of multiple sclerosis tissues collected post-mortem or as biopsies. Here, we present an account of what material is currently available and where it can be accessed. We also provide recommendations on how tissue donation from patients in early disease stages could be potentially increased and for procedures of tissue sampling and preservation. We also suggest to create a registry of the available tissues that, depending on the source (autopsy versus biopsy), could be made accessible to clinicians and researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfcac094
JournalBrain Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Autopsies
  • Biopsies
  • Brain banking
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tissue donation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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