Simple methods for quantifying the spatial distribution of different categories of motoneuronal nerve endings, using measurements of muscle regionalization

Kernell, D. & Wang, LC., 31-Jul-2000, In : Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 100, 1-2, p. 79-83 5 p.

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  • D Kernell
  • LC Wang

For skeletal muscles, a well-known match exists between the properties of motoneurones and those of their muscle fibres. Hence, the intramuscular distribution of different kinds of motoneuronal nerve endings (e.g. 'slow' versus 'fast') can be mapped by determining the distribution of the corresponding types of muscle fibre. As a background for further studies of motoneuronal plasticity, we needed precise measures of such distributions. Simple quantitative methods were developed for defining the position and extent of sub-populations of cells within a structure (e.g. the regional distribution of slow versus fast muscle fibres within a muscle cross-section): (a) The 'mass vector method' defined the relative position of the target cell cloud. A line was drawn between the calculated centre of mass for the target cells and that for the whole structure. The direction (a1) and length (a2) of this line gave a measure of the direction and degree of target cell eccentricity within the structure. (b) The;sector method' delineated the region containing the target fibres. A circle around the centre of mass for the target fibres was subdivided into a number of equal sectors (standard setting: 20). The most remote point was found within each sector and a line joining these points defined the region of the target fibres. When applied to the 'slow' type I fibres of cross-sections from rat hindlimb muscles, the regional area estimates obtained by the sector method were highly correlated with, but similar to 10% lower than those achieved by the well-established convex hull' method. Highly significant inter-muscular differences were observed for each one of the three new parameters described in this paper (a1, a2, b). (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 31-Jul-2000


  • cell distribution, motor nerve endings, skeletal muscle, fibre types, rat, convex hull, FIBER TYPES, RELATIVE SIZES, RAT

ID: 3884868