UNIT 1.1 Basic Neuroanatomical Methods

  1. Charles R. Gerfen

Published Online: 1 AUG 2003

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0101s23

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Gerfen, C. R. 2003. Basic Neuroanatomical Methods. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 00:1.1:1.1.1–1.1.11.

Author Information

  1. National Institutes of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 AUG 2003
  2. Published Print: APR 2003


This unit covers some of the basic procedures that are common to a wide range of neuroanatomical protocols. Procedures are provided for the preparation of unfixed, fresh brain tissue as well as for perfusion fixation of animals resulting in fixed neural tissue. A variety of methods for sectioning brains are described, including frozen sectioning in a cryostat, frozen sectioning with a microtome, and sectioning with a vibratome. The choice of sectioning method depends on how the brain has been prepared and what histochemical method is to be used. Three post-sectioning procedures are provided: defatting of slide-mounted sections, thionin staining of the sections, and coating of slides with photographic emulsion for autoradiography. Finally, a procedure is described for subbing slides with gelatin, which is necessary in some protocols in order for the sections to adhere to the slides.