JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In



Semi-Quantitative Determination of Dopaminergic Neuron Density in the Substantia Nigra of Rodent Models using Automated Image Analysis

Published: February 2nd, 2021



1Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, 3Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, 4Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, University of Toronto, 5Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson's Disease and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, 6Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto

Estimation of the number of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra is a key method in pre-clinical Parkinson's disease research. Currently, unbiased stereological counting is the standard for quantification of these cells, but it remains a laborious and time-consuming process, which may not be feasible for all projects. Here, we describe the use of an image analysis platform, which can accurately estimate the quantity of labeled cells in a pre-defined region of interest. We describe a step-by-step protocol for this method of analysis in rat brain and demonstrate it can identify a significant reduction in tyrosine hydroxylase positive neurons due to expression of mutant α-synuclein in the substantia nigra. We validated this methodology by comparing with results obtained by unbiased stereology. Taken together, this method provides a time-efficient and accurate process for detecting changes in dopaminergic neuron number, and thus is suitable for efficient determination of the effect of interventions on cell survival.


Semi Quantitative Determination

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved