BACKGROUND: Autologous transplantation is an attractive approach to treat some neurological diseases. A major obstacle is the capacity to produce cells for transplantation at the appropriate time. We describe a cryopreservation procedure for adult human brain tissue allowing the generation of cells in vitro. METHODS: Neurological resections were dissected to separate white and grey matter. Fractions were frozen in a specific cryopreservation medium containing a selected serum and stored in liquid nitrogen. Tissue was thawed, cells were mechanically dissociated, expanded in culture and characterized by immunochemistry. RESULTS: Adult human brain tissue cryopreserved for up to two years was successfully used to generate brain cells that could be maintained in culture for up to 100 days. Cells expressed a variety of neuroectodermal markers including GFAP, S100beta, and neurofilament. CONCLUSION: A successful procedure for cryopreservation of adult human brain tissue has been established that might facilitate future autologous transplantation strategies.