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Aspects of the quantitative analysis of neurons in the cerebral cortex.

Journal article
Authors Thomas Skoglund
Ragnar Pascher
Claes-Henric Berthold
Published in Journal of neuroscience methods
Volume 70
Issue 2
Pages 201-10
ISSN 0165-0270
Publication year 1996
Published at Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Pages 201-10
Language en
Keywords Animals, Cell Count, methods, Cell Size, Cerebral Cortex, cytology, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Male, Neurons, cytology, ultrastructure, Nissl Bodies, chemistry, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Staining and Labeling, methods
Subject categories Neuroscience


We address three problems concerning the quantitative analysis of nerve cell distribution in the cerebral cortex: (i) preparatory tissue deformation (shrinkage); (ii) difficulties in differentiating between small neurons and astroglia; and (iii) the bias introduced by the counting method. We found that staining with Richardson's solution led to no shrinkage in Vibratome-cut sections of aldehyde-fixed rat brains, but did result in staining of the neurons and left the glial cells unstained. This was in striking contrast to Nissl staining which introduced a linear shrinkage of 20-30% and stained all kinds of cortical cells indiscriminately. A computer-based unbiased counting method was implemented by taking advantage of the stereological procedure referred to as the 'optical disector' (Gundersen, H.J.G. (1986) Stereology of arbitrary particles, J. Microsc., 143: 3-45).

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