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Discrepancies in quantitative assessment of normal and regenerated peripheral nerve fibers between light and electron microscopy

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  • Giulia Ronchi, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Orbassano, TO, Italy; Neuroscience Institute of the "Cavalieri Ottolenghi" Foundation (NICO), University of Turin, Orbassano, TO, Italy.
  • ,
  • Sara B Jager
  • Christian Bjerggaard Vægter
  • Stefania Raimondo, Unknown
  • Maria Giuseppina Giacobini-Robecchi, Unknown
  • Stefano Geuna

Quantitative estimation of myelinated nerve fiber number, together with fiber size parameters, is one of the most important tools for nerve regeneration research. In this study we used a design-based stereological method to evaluate the regenerative process in two experimental paradigms: crush injury and autograft repair. Samples were embedded in resin and morphometric counting and measurements were performed using both light and electron microscopy. Results show a significant difference in myelinated fiber number estimation between light and electron microscopy, especially after autograft repair; light microscopy significantly underestimates the number of fibers due to the large number of very small axons that can be detected only in electron microscopy. The analysis of the size parameters also shows a higher number of small fibers in electron microscopy analysis, especially in regenerated nerves. This comparative study shows that the integration of data obtained in light microscopy with those obtained in electron microscopy is necessary in revealing very small myelinated fibers that cannot be detected otherwise. Moreover, the difference in the estimation of total number of myelinated fibers between light and electron microscopy must be considered in data analysis to ensure accurate interpretation of the results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Peripheral Nervous System
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2014

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