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TDK conference 2018

A new initiative: Setting up of the Hungarian Canine Brain and Tissue Bank
Czakó Lenke - year 5
ELTE, Department of Ethology; University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Animal Hygiene, Herdhealth and Veterinary Ethology
Supervisors: Dr. András Adorján, Dr. Enikő Kubinyi


The Senior Family Dog Project was established in 2016 at the Department of Ethology, Budapest, ELTE, funded by an ERC Starting Grant. The project is part of the Family Dog Project which was founded in 1994 to study profoundly the aspects of dog-human relationship. The aim of the Senior Family Dog Project is to study the biological background of canine cognitive aging, including behavioral, genetic and neuroscientific aspects. The Canine Brain and Tissue Bank (CBTB) was established as a part of this project.

Human brain banks exist worldwide to facilitate human brain research since a long time. Brain banks have comparable methods to process human brain tissue, yet these techniques are quite diverse. The setting-up of the CBTB relies on the experiences of these prestigious human brain banks, while creating its own methods.

The CBTB established a legally and ethically stable relationship with many veterinary medical stations according to the Hungarian law. Dog owners can donate the body of their euthanized pets for the CBTB with both of the owners’ and their veterinarians’ consent. In cooperation with the veterinarians and the dog owners the CBTB acquires information about the medical history and behavioral anomalies of the dog. Dissections and tissue samplings are performed with the participation of a veterinarian. Besides dissecting the whole brain, samples are obtained from other organs, too (muscles, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, ganglia, skin, hair, liquor). Samples are evaluated macroscopically, histologically and with molecular biological methods (protein analysis, RNA analysis, gene expression assays).

The processing protocol of the samples depends on the post mortem delay. When tissues can be processed within 4 hours post mortem, RNA species can be preserved and analysed (as we proved during the validation procedure), while after 4 hours samples are fixed in formalin. Until September, 2018 CBTB received 39 donations where within 4 hours sampling were possible and 74 donations where over 4 hours sampling were performed.

The aim of the project for the future (beside the ongoing researches) to gain more donations, while increasing their capacity. Other objective is to create an online database where samples would be available for Hungarian and foreign researchers. The Canine Brain and Tissue Bank is a unique initiative with countless potentials in the area of canine ethology researches and veterinary sciences. The CBTB could also have an important role in the field of studying neurodegenerative diseases such as cognitive dysfunction, epilepsy, brain tumors, circulatory disturbances in the central nervous system.

The aim of my thesis is to provide detailed information about the necessity and circumstances of establishing the CBTB as well as demonstrating the operational methods it formed. In addition it describes the current and expected future position of this pioneer initiative in science.

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