Central and peripheral nervous structures as seen at the confocal scanning laser microscope

P. Castano, A. Marcucci, A. Miani, M. Morini, S. Veraldi, C. Rumio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central neurons and peripheral nervous structures, e.g. cutaneous free endings, perifollicular nets, Meissners corpuscles and intramuscular fibres, were studied using various impregnation methods. The confocal scanning laser microscopes (CSLMs) used were equipped with different laser sources, in order to evaluate their limitations and advantages with these techniques and to contribute to a better understanding of the general morphology of the nervous system. When staining with silver sections with clouds of tiny silver granules which are beyond the resolution power of the conventional light microscope but which show a high reflectivity with the CSLM are obtained. Golgi-Cox mercuric impregnation, however, provides specimens which are precipitate-free, thus ensuring the reliability of information obtained. It does, however, have the disadvantage of being applicable only to the central nervous system. In all cases it is an advantage for the instrument to be fitted with different lasers (e.g. Ar and He-Ne), so as to optimize the images of samples impregnated with different methods. Notwithstanding the possibility that artefacts may distort the geometry of the sample and reduce the resolution, the images presented in this paper show that with careful selection of optical sectioning distances, the use of a suitable stack of sections and, if necessary, the aid of false electronic colours and of partial or complete rotation, it is possible to achieve a more precise interpretation of the morphology and organization of complex structures, such as those of the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Confocal scanning laser microscopy
  • Cutaneous innervation
  • Golgi impregnations
  • Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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