The Golgi-Cox method was used to compare transverse sections of the lumbar cords of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and controls. Large anterior horn cells of the control cords could be divided into three groups based on arrangement of the dendrites arising from the soma; bipolar, tripolar and multipolar. Axons could be identified by their characteristic morphology; tapering axon hillocks and initial segments, followed by an increase in caliber at the first myelinated segments. Axons usually emanated from somata, but sometimes from dendrites. Only a single abnormal neuron with a plump soma and very thin dendrites, was seen in the controls. Atrophic neurons were rare in the controls. In ALS, various abnormal changes were found in the anterior horn cells. In some, the axon remained thin and did not attain a normal thickness at the point where one might expect the first myelinated segment. The normal morphology of the dendrites was sometimes disturbed resulting in a poor extension of the dendritic trees, and thin dendrites. This communication is the first description of the Golgi method applied to ALS cases.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Anterior horn cells
- Golgi study
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience