Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2009, Article ID 427840, 3 pages

Heart and Brain Tissue Banks for Research on Co-Occurring Cardiovascular and Neurological/Psychiatric Disorders

Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 28 February 2009; Accepted 20 March 2009

Copyright © 2009 Milos D. Ikonomovic. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epidemiological studies point to a strong and possibly causal association of psychiatric and neurological disorders with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Mechanistic links between these co-occurring illnesses are not well understood. Better insight into their relationship could help identify novel diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. For successful translation of basic biomedical research into clinical practice, analyses of postmortem human tissues are essential. However, current tissue banks dedicated to psychiatric and neurological research collect only brain tissue samples deemed most important to the institution's participating investigators. While this practice is often dictated by budget constraints, restricted tissue storage space and other practical reasons, it limits the ability of the biological research community to access and study multiple organ systems relevant to cardiovascular and neuronal systems dysfunction. This problem is worsened when clinical records pertaining to coexistent systemic pathology are not available. To promote further understanding of co-occurring CVD and psychiatric/neurological disorders, efforts should be made to support tissue banks that harvest heart, coronary arteries, and aorta samples as well as brain tissue, from the same subjects.