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The Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Biorepository: Supporting Research on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses

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Published: 14 October 2021
 by  MDPI

Abstract: Aims: To introduce a resource supporting research on Gulf War illness (GWI) and related disorders, the Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Biorepository (GWVIB). Methods: Gulf War era veterans (GWVs) are recruited nationally and enrolled via telephone and email/postal mail. Enrolled veterans receive annual telephone and mail follow-up to collect health data until their passing. A postmortem neuropathological examination is performed, and fixed and frozen brain and spinal cord samples are banked to support research. Investigators studying GWI and related disorders may request tissue and data from the GWVIB. Results: As of September 2021, 127 GWVs from 39 states were enrolled; 60 met the criteria for GWI, and 14 met the criteria for chronic multisymptom illness (CMI). Enrollees have been followed up to six years. Postmortem tissue recoveries were performed on 14 GWVs. The most commonly found neuropathologies included amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and Lewy body disease. Tissue was of good quality with an average RNA integrity number of 5.8 (SD = 1.0) and ≥4.8 in all of the cases. Discussion: The availability of health data and high-quality CNS tissue from this well-characterized GWV cohort will support research on GWI and related disorders affecting GWVs. Enrollment is ongoing.
Keywords: gulf war / gulf war illness / chronic multisymptom illness / veterans / neuropathology / brain banking / tissue banking

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