Tryptophan is a marker of human postmortem brain tissue quality

Edna Grünblatt, Camelia Maria Monoranu, Manuela Apfelbacher, Daniela Keller, Tanja M. Michel, Irina Alafuzoff, Isidro Ferrer, Safa Al-Saraj, Kathy Keyvani, Andrea Schmitt, Peter Falkai, Jens Schittenhelm, Catriona McLean, Glenda M. Halliday, Clive Harper, Jürgen Deckert, Wolfgang Roggendorf, Peter Riederer

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Postmortem human brain tissue is widely used in neuroscience research, but use of tissue originating from different brain bank centers is considered inaccurate because of possible heterogeneity in sample quality. There is thus a need for well-characterized markers to assess the quality of postmortem brain tissue. Toward this aim, we determined tryptophan (TRP) concentrations, phosphofructokinase-1 and glutamate decarboxylase activities in 119 brain tissue samples. These neurochemical parameters were tested in samples from autopsied individuals, including control and pathological cases provided by 10 different brain bank centers. Parameters were assessed for correlation with agonal state, postmortem interval, age and gender, brain region, preservation and freezing methods, storage conditions and storage time, RNA integrity, and tissue pH value. TRP concentrations were elevated significantly (p = 0.045) with increased postmortem interval; which might indicate increased protein degradation. Therefore, TRP concentration might be one useful and convenient marker for estimating the quality of human postmortem brain tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1408
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


  • Brain
  • Glutamate decarboxylase
  • Phosphofructokinase-1
  • Postmortem
  • Tryptophan

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