UNIT 12.16 Morphometric Analysis in Neurodegenerative Disorders

  1. Dejan Milatovic1,
  2. Thomas J. Montine2,
  3. Snjezana Zaja-Milatovic1,
  4. Jennifer L. Madison1,
  5. Aaron B. Bowman1,
  6. Michael Aschner1

Published Online: 1 FEB 2010

DOI: 10.1002/0471140856.tx1216s43

Current Protocols in Toxicology

Current Protocols in Toxicology

How to Cite

Milatovic, D., Montine, T. J., Zaja-Milatovic, S., Madison, J. L., Bowman, A. B. and Aschner, M. 2010. Morphometric Analysis in Neurodegenerative Disorders. Current Protocols in Toxicology. 43:12.16:12.16.1–12.16.14.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

  2. 2

    University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2010
  2. Published Print: FEB 2010

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (1 NOV 2010)


The study of dendritic length and spine density has become standard in the analysis of neuronal abnormalities, since a considerable number of neurological diseases have their foundation in alterations in these structures. One of the best ways to study possible alterations in neuronal morphometry is the use of Golgi impregnation. Introduced more than a century ago, it is still the standard and state-of-the-art technique for visualization of neuronal architecture. We successfully applied the Golgi method to mouse, rat, monkey, and human brain tissues for studying both the normal and abnormal morphology of neurons. We were able to discover subtle morphological alterations in neuronal dendrites and dendritic spines in different brain areas. Although Golgi preparations can be examined by electronic microscopy, we used light microscopy and reconstruction using Neurolucida software to quantitatively explore the relationship between total dendritic length and spine density in different types of neurons. This unit summarizes the methodology used to quantify neuronal abnormalities and discusses the utility of these techniques in different models of neurodegeneration. Curr. Protoc. Toxicol. 43:12.16.1-12.16.14. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • Golgi impregnation;
  • Neurolucida;
  • dendrites;
  • dendritic spine;
  • neuronal morphometry