Cytoarchitectonic mapping by microdensitometry.


Functional differences among various portions of the cerebral cortex are often correlated with differing cortical layering patterns. Convenient, accurate techniques for scoring layering should therefore prove useful in electrophysiological as well as anatomical investigations. We report the application of a computer-controlled scanning microdensitometer as a means of rapid measurement of optical densities in histological sections of monkey visual cortices, areas 17 and 18. The technique readily permits recognition of the previously defined cortical layers and suggests that still finer consistent layering patterns exist; it provides objective "fingerprints" of cortical regions which facilitate comparisons of structure from area to area and from animal to animal. The procedure should serve also to score the positions of autoradiographic grains, degenerating axonal terminals, and other labeled structures, and to allow the comparison of preparations stained by various techniques.

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