Spatial pattern of nerve fiber abnormality indicative of pathologic mechanisms

P. J. Dyck, J. Karnes, P. O'Brien, H. Nukada, A. Lais, P. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Estimates of the number, density, and size distribution of myelinated fibers at selected levels of roots, spinal tracts, and sampled levels of peripheral nerves may be used in the detection and characterization of alterations of motor, sensory, and autonomic neurons and their axons with development, aging and disease. Use of imaging techniques, now available, increases the reliability, versatility, and speed of such analysis. In this study, the authors evaluated the spatial pattern of fibers in sampled frames and contour areas of transverse sections of nerve fascicles, utilizing, the coefficient of variation and index of dispersion (ID), the latter extensively employed by plant ecologists. The ID was used for recognization of increased, normal, or decreased variability of density within fascicles, between fascicles, and between nerves in health and in various experimental neuropathies. In addition, various morphometric measurements were made in transverse sections at defined levels along the hind limb nerves of rats in acute and chronic ischemia, after rhizotomy and in galactose neuropathy. These stereomorphometric studies, emphasizing the number, size, shape, and spatial pattern of fibers, revealed differences among experimental neuropathies and may be found to be helpful in the characterization and prediction of pathologic mechanisms in neuropathies of unknown cause. Specifically, these approaches could be used for study of whether fiber loss in human diabetic neuropathy is multifocal and determination of the levels of such losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-238
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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