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Automated quantification of vomeronasal glomeruli number, size, and color composition after immunofluorescent staining

Authors
  • Bahreini Jangjoo, Shahab1
  • Lin, Jennifer M2, 3
  • Etaati, Farhood4
  • Fearnley, Sydney5, 6
  • Cloutier, Jean-François5, 6, 7
  • Khmaladze, Alexander1
  • Forni, Paolo E2, 3
  • 1 Department of Physics, University at Albany, Albany, NY , (United States)
  • 2 Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, Albany, NY , (United States)
  • 3 The RNA Institute, University at Albany, Albany, NY , (United States)
  • 4 School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran , (Iran)
  • 5 The Neuro, 3801 University, Montréal, QC H3A 2B4 , (Canada)
  • 6 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, Montréal, QC , (Canada)
  • 7 Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montréal, QC , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Chemical Senses
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Sep 07, 2021
Volume
46
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjab039
PMID: 34492099
PMCID: PMC8502234
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • AcademicSubjects/SCI01180
License
Unknown

Abstract

Glomeruli are neuropil-rich regions of the main or accessory olfactory bulbs (AOB) where the axons of olfactory or vomeronasal neurons and dendrites of mitral/tufted cells form synaptic connections. In the main olfactory system, olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) expressing the same receptor innervate 1 or 2 glomeruli. However, in the accessory olfactory system, vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs) expressing the same receptor can innervate up to 30 different glomeruli in the AOB. Genetic mutation disrupting genes with a role in defining the identity/diversity of olfactory and vomeronasal neurons can alter the number and size of glomeruli. Interestingly, 2 cell surface molecules, Kirrel2 and Kirrel3, have been indicated as playing a critical role in the organization of axons into glomeruli in the AOB. Being able to quantify differences in glomeruli features, such as number, size, or immunoreactivity for specific markers, is an important experimental approach to validate the role of specific genes in controlling neuronal connectivity and circuit formation in either control or mutant animals. Since the manual recognition and quantification of glomeruli on digital images is a challenging and time-consuming task, we generated a program in Python able to identify glomeruli in digital images and quantify their properties, such as size, number, and pixel intensity. Validation of our program indicates that our script is a fast and suitable tool for high-throughput quantification of glomerular features of mouse lines with different genetic makeup.

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