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Understanding the cellular and molecular alterations in PTSD brains

Publication year 2017
Published in European Journal of Psychotraumatology
Authors G. De Lange,

The personal, social and economic burden of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is high and therapeutic approaches are only partially effective. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the cellular and molecular alterations in PTSD brains in order to design more effective treatment strategies. Although brain imaging strategies have considerably improved our understanding of PTSD, these strategies cannot identify molecular and cellular changes. Post-mortem examination of the brain is a crucial strategy to advance our understanding of the underlying neuropathology, neurochemistry and molecular pathways of PTSD. Unfortunately, there is a worldwide serious shortage of human psychiatric brain tissue available for post-mortem research. Therefore, the Netherlands Brain Bank launched a prospective donor programme to recruit brain donors with psychiatric diseases in 2012: Netherlands Brain Bank for Psychiatry (NBB-Psy). NBB-Psy aims to establish a resource of brain tissue of seven psychiatric disorders: post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Participants of several large and clinically characterized research cohorts of psychiatric patients, including relatives and controls, were asked prospectively to register as brain donors. Registered donors complete medical questionnaires annually. The number of registered donors with a psychiatric disorder at the NBB has risen from 312 (most of which were patients with major depressive disorder) in the year 2010 to 1187 in 2017, of which 146 are PTSD patients. The NBB guarantees worldwide open access to biomaterials and data. Any researcher affiliated with a research institute can apply.

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