Stefania Raimondo, Luis Maltez, Jose E. Pereira, Guido Koopmans, Artur Varejão, Stefano Geuna
The sought for effective strategies for the treatment of contusive spinal cord (SC) injury represents one of the key issues in today’s neuroscience research. Experimental SC research is based, besides on the behavioural evaluation of motor function, on the extensive morphological assessment of tissue damage on histological sections. In order to be integrated with quantitative functional results, histological analysis has to lead to quantitative results too and, to this end, modern stereological methods may help researchers in getting reliable and unbiased morpho-quantitative results on posttraumatic SC injury. Unfortunately, analysis of the relevant literature in SC injury and regeneration research reveals that only few experimental studies adopted stereological tools so far. In the present paper, we will overview the main morphological techniques that are employed for SC histological imaging, focusing on the pros and cons of each technique, as well as the main stereological methods that can be used to get reliable morpho-quantitative data on SC injury and regeneration.
Regione Piemonte (Progetto Ricerca Sanitaria Finalizzata), the MIUR (Italian Ministry of University and Research), Compagnia di San Paolo (Bando Programma Neuroscienze) and the Luso-American Foundation (grant # L-V-315/2006).