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Marcus Davidsson

Marcus Davidsson

Postdoctoral fellow

Marcus Davidsson

Automated quantification of neuronal swellings in a preclinical rodent model of Parkinson's disease detects region-specific changes in pathology


  • Luis Quintino
  • Francesco Gubinelli
  • Livija Sarauskyte
  • Elin Arvidsson
  • Marcus Davidsson
  • Cecilia Lundberg
  • Andreas Heuer

Summary, in English

Background: The development of axonal pathology is a key characteristic of many neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. With advanced disease progression, affected axons do display several signs of pathology such as swelling and fragmentation. In the AAV vector-mediated alpha-synuclein overexpression model of Parkinson's disease, large (> 20 µm2) pathological swellings are prominent characteristics in cortical and subcortical structures. New method: This report describes a novel, macro-based workflow to quantify axonal pathology in the form of axonal swellings in the AAV vector-based alpha-synuclein overexpression model. Specifically, the approach is using background correction and thresholding before quantification of structures in 3D throughout a tissue stack. Results: The method was used to quantify TH and aSYN axonal swellings in the prefrontal cortex, striatum, and hippocampus. Regional differences in volume and number of axonal swellings were observed for both in TH and aSYN, with the striatum displaying the greatest signs of pathology. Comparison with existing methods: Existing methods for the quantification of axonal pathology do either rely on proprietary software or are based on manual quantification. The ImageJ workflow described here provides a method to objectively quantify axonal swellings both in volume and number. Conclusion: The method described can readily assess axonal pathology in preclinical rodent models of Parkinson's disease and can be easily adapted to other model systems and/or markers.


  • MultiPark: Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson´s disease
  • CNS Gene Therapy
  • Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory
  • Molecular Neuromodulation

Publishing year





Journal of Neuroscience Methods



Document type

Journal article




  • Neurosciences
  • Software Engineering


  • 3D quantification
  • Alpha-synuclein
  • Axonal pathology
  • Axonal swellings
  • ImageJ
  • Microscopy



Research group

  • CNS Gene Therapy
  • Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory
  • Molecular Neuromodulation


  • ISSN: 0165-0270