Differential effects of p-chlorophenylalanine on indoleamines in brainstem nuclei and spinal cord of rats. II. Identification of immunohistochemically stained structures using computer-assisted image enhancement techniques

Susan M. Carlton, Judith L. Steinman, Gilbert R. Hillman, William D. Willis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Scopus citations


    Following intraperitoneal injection of p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA, 400 and 600 mg/kg) on 3 consecutive days, the brainstem and lumbar cord of rats were removed, frozen-sectioned and immunohistochemically stained (PAP method) for serotonin (5-HT). Using computer-assisted image analysis, the density of 5-HT staining in control, 400 and 600 mg/kg PCPA groups was determined. The mean number of pixels (representing 5-HT staining) was determined in 6 areas in the brainstem containing 5-HT cell bodies (nuclei raphe pallidus, raphe obscurus, rostral and caudal raphe magnus, raphe dorsalis and paragigantocellularis lateralis) and in the dorsal and ventral spinal cord. The resultssuggest a differential depletion of 5-HT within brainstem nuclei following PCPA treatment in that the most marked dose-related reductions were observed in nucleus raphe obscurus and caudal magnus. Furthermore, a computer program designed to isolate terminal structures in the spinal cord identified a differential depletion of 5-HT terminals in the dorsal horn versus the ventral horn. The present study describes 3 analytical approaches combining immunohistochemistry with the computer-assisted image analysis technique and allows comparison between groups of animals which received the same or different drug treatments.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)310-322
    Number of pages13
    JournalBrain Research
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Nov 24 1987



    • Dorsal spinal cord
    • Image analysis
    • Raphe nucleus
    • Serotonin
    • Ventral spinals cord

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)
    • Molecular Biology
    • Clinical Neurology
    • Developmental Biology

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