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Histochemistry. 1986;85(4):341-7.

Histochemical demonstration of copper in normal rat brain and spinal cord. Evidence of localization in glial cells.


The high sensitivity of the magnesium-dithizonate silver-dithizonate (MDSD) staining procedure makes this method very suitable for the histochemical localization of copper in different regions of the central nervous system of adult rats. In the telencephalon (bulbus olfactorius, nucleus caudatus-putamen, septum pellucidum and area dentata), diencephalon (nucleus habenulae medialis, nuclei of the hypothalamus in the vicinity of the third ventricle, and corpus mamillare), mesencephalon (substantia nigra), cerebellum (mainly in the nodulus), pons (locus coeruleus, nucleus vestibularis), medulla oblongata (nucleus tractus solitarii) and spinal cord, the glial cells exhibit specific copper staining. The glial cells of some circumventricular organs (e.g. the subfornical organ) are also stained using the MDSD method. The significant staining observed in white-matter glial cells (e.g. in the corpus callosum, cerebellum and spinal cord) further indicates the very high sensitivity of this method. In glial cells of the same regions, the presence of copper can likewise be demonstrated using the modified sulphide silver method. On the basis of the present histochemical results, it is suggested that copper may play an important role in the normal physiological functioning of glial cells and also, via glial-neuron interactions, in neuronal processes.

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