The Sun Health Research Institute Brain Donation Program: description and experience, 1987-2007

Cell Tissue Bank. 2008 Sep;9(3):229-45. doi: 10.1007/s10561-008-9067-2. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


The Brain Donation Program at Sun Health Research Institute has been in continual operation since 1987, with over 1000 brains banked. The population studied primarily resides in the retirement communities of northwest metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona. The Institute is affiliated with Sun Health, a nonprofit community-owned and operated health care provider. Subjects are enrolled prospectively to allow standardized clinical assessments during life. Funding comes primarily from competitive grants. The Program has made short postmortem brain retrieval a priority, with a 2.75-h median postmortem interval for the entire collection. This maximizes the utility of the resource for molecular studies; frozen tissue from approximately 82% of all cases is suitable for RNA studies. Studies performed in-house have shown that, even with very short postmortem intervals, increasing delays in brain retrieval adversely affect RNA integrity and that cerebrospinal fluid pH increases with postmortem interval but does not predict tissue viability.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes*
  • Arizona
  • Brain*
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Tissue Banks* / history
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue Preservation
  • Tissue Survival
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement* / history