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J Neurosci Methods. 2003 Mar 15;123(2):207-14.

A robust, efficient and flexible method for staining myelinated axons in blocks of brain tissue.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2E9. wahlsten@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated the utility of the gold chloride method for en bloc staining of a bisected brain in mice and rats. The present study explores several variations in the method, assesses its reliability, and extends the limits of its application. We conclude that the method is very efficient, highly robust, sufficiently accurate for most purposes, and adaptable to many morphometric measures. We obtained acceptable staining of commissures in every brain, despite a wide variety of fixation methods. One-half could be stained 24 h after the brain was extracted and the other half could be stained months later. When staining failed because of an exhausted solution, the brain could be stained successfully in fresh solution. Relatively small changes were found in the sizes of commissures several weeks after initial fixation or staining. A half brain stained to reveal the mid-sagittal section could then be sectioned coronally and stained again in either gold chloride for myelin or cresyl violet for Nissl substance. Uncertainty, arising from pixelation of digitized images was far less than errors arising from human judgments about the histological limits of major commissures. Useful data for morphometric analysis were obtained by scanning the surface of a gold chloride stained block of brain with an inexpensive flatbed scanner.

PMID:
12606069
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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