The investigation of the neuronal network in mouse spinal cord models represents the basis for the research on neurodegenerative diseases. In this framework, the quantitative analysis of the single elements in different districts is a crucial task. However, conventional 3D imaging techniques do not have enough spatial resolution and contrast to allow for a quantitative investigation of the neuronal network. Exploiting the high coherence and the high flux of synchrotron sources, X-ray Phase-Contrast multiscale-Tomography allows for the 3D investigation of the neuronal microanatomy without any aggressive sample preparation or sectioning. We investigated healthy-mouse neuronal architecture by imaging the 3D distribution of the neuronal-network with a spatial resolution of 640 nm. The high quality of the obtained images enables a quantitative study of the neuronal structure on a subject-by-subject basis. We developed and applied a spatial statistical analysis on the motor neurons to obtain quantitative information on their 3D arrangement in the healthy-mice spinal cord. Then, we compared the obtained results with a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Our approach paves the way to the creation of a "database" for the characterization of the neuronal network main features for a comparative investigation of neurodegenerative diseases and therapies.
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