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Fractal analysis of dendritic arborization patterns of pyramidal neurons in human basolateral amygdala

Background

It is well known that there is important role of amygdala in emotional-cognitive processes, i.e. in emotional and associative learning, fear acquisition and emotional memory [1]. We investigated dendritic branching patterns of pyramidal neurons which are believed to be excitatory. According to our earlier findings pyramidal neurons in human basolateral amygdala have two subtypes - pyramidal slender and pyramidal squat neurons [2]. Fractal analysis, which comes from Mandelbrot's fractal geometry [3], is used as a tool for differentiation of the complexity of neuronal dendritic branching patterns. The measure of dendritic branching represents the fractal dimension of the neuron. In performing this study, we have applied the fractal analysis to the images of neurons, in order to investigate its capability to distinguish between subtypes.

Materials and methods

The images of 14 Golgi-impregnated neurons were classified into two categories based on their somata and dendritic patterns - pyramidal slender and pyramidal squat subtypes. All images were analyzed with the box-counting method using public domain Image J software [4].

Results

Statistical analysis of the obtained data indicated that there was a significant difference (p<0.05) between the calculated means of fractal dimensions between dendritic arbors of two subtypes - slender and squat pyramidal neurons.

Conclusions

This preliminary study of neuronal structure performed on pyramidal neurons of human basolateral amygdala suggests the utility both of fractal analysis and fractal dimension as a useful parameter of the complexity of dendritic structure and indicates their functional complexity.

References

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    McGaugh JL: The amygdala modulates the consolidation of memories of emotionally arousing experiences. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2004, 27: 1-28. 10.1146/annurev.neuro.27.070203.144157.

  2. 2.

    Tosevski J, Malikovic A, Mojsilovic-Petrovic J: Types of neurons and some dendritic patterns of basolateral amygdala in humans - a Golgi study. Ann Anat. 2002, 184: 93-103.

  3. 3.

    Mandelbrot BB: The Fractal Geometry of Nature. 2004, New York: W.N. Freemen and Co, 20th ed

  4. 4.

    Milosevic NT, Ristanovic D, Stankovic JB: Fractal analysis of the laminar organization of spinal cord neurons. J. Neurosci. Meth. 2005, 146: 198-204. 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2005.02.009.

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Author information

Correspondence to Jovo Tosevski.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Public Health
  • Fractal Dimension
  • Pyramidal Neuron
  • Public Domain
  • Fractal Analysis