Ultrastructural investigation of neurons identified and localized using the confocal scanning laser microscope

J Electron Microsc Tech. 1991 May;18(1):82-90. doi: 10.1002/jemt.1060180112.


Studies of labeled neurons at the light-microscopic level often pinpoint a substructure of particular interest, i.e., a synapse or a spine. An ultrastructural investigation would explain a lot about how these structures arose, how they function, and how they are regulated. Finding a small region in a large block can require constant checking during sectioning, until past the structure. In our pursuit of the synaptic structure of varicosities on the axons of neurons identified physiologically and morphologically at the light level, we have combined confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) with conventional and high-voltage electron microscopy (EM). CSLM images were collected in the reflection mode to view neurons filled with horseradish peroxidase and stained with nickel-intensified diaminobenzidine, which is compatible with EM. The CSLM optical sections provided a record of what one should expect to see at regular intervals throughout the depth of the tissue block. We have shown that the CSLM greatly simplified the task of localizing small structures in brain tissue prepared for EM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Hippocampus / ultrastructure*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lasers
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Rats


  • Fluorescent Dyes