DNA extraction from fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffinembedded human brain tissue Academic Article uri icon

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  • Both fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) human brain tissues are invaluable resources for molecular genetic studies of central nervous system diseases, especially neurodegenerative disorders. To identify the optimal method for DNA extraction from human brain tissue, we compared methods on differently-processed tissues. Fragments of LRRK2 and MAPT (257 bp and 483 bp/245 bp) were amplified for evaluation. We found that for FFPE samples, the success rate of DNA extraction was greater when using a commercial kit than a laboratory-based method (successful DNA extraction from 76% versus 33% of samples). PCR amplicon size and storage period were key factors influencing the success rate of DNA extraction from FFPE samples. In the fresh-frozen samples, the DNA extraction success rate was 100% using either a commercial kit (QIAamp DNA Micro) or a laboratory-based method (sample boiling in 0.1 mol/L NaOH, followed by proteinase K digestion, and then DNA extraction using Chelex-100) regardless of PCR amplicon length or tissue storage time. Although the present results demonstrate that PCR-amplifiable genomic DNA can be extracted from both fresh-frozen and FFPE samples, fresh brain tissue is recommended for DNA extraction in future neuropathological studies.


  • Steinberg, Gregory
  • Wang, Jian-Hua
  • Gouda-Vossos, Amany
  • Dzamko, Nicolas
  • Halliday, Glenda
  • Huang, Yue

publication date

  • October 2013