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Methods ARTICLE

Front. Neurosci., 22 December 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2011.00140

The appropriateness of unbiased optical fractionators to assess cell proliferation in the adult hippocampus

Hamid R. Noori1,2* and Casimir A. Fornal2
  • 1 Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute for Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
  • 2 Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

Optical fractionators have dominated the field of neural cell counting for two decades. These unbiased stereological techniques are often used for the quantification of hippocampal cell proliferation in neurogenesis experiments. However, the heterogeneous distribution of labeled cells, especially in the form of clusters, confounds the application of these techniques. A critical evaluation of the applicability of the optical fractionator suggests that absolute counting achieves higher efficiency in the quantification of cell proliferation than unbiased estimations.

Keywords: unbiased stereology, optical fractionator, cell counting, hippocampal cell proliferation

Citation: Noori HR and Fornal CA (2011) The appropriateness of unbiased optical fractionators to assess cell proliferation in the adult hippocampus. Front. Neurosci. 5:140. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00140

Received: 22 September 2011; Accepted: 05 December 2011;
Published online: 22 December 2011.

Edited by:

Perry Bartlett, University of Queensland, Australia

Reviewed by:

Maurice Curtis, Auckland University, New Zealand
Dhanisha Jhaveri, University of Queensland, Australia

Copyright: © 2011 Noori and Fornal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Hamid R. Noori, Institute of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute for Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, J5, 68159 Mannheim, Germany. e-mail: hamid.noori@zi-mannheim.de