The story of MCG: lost opportunity.

3. Application for comparison of cortical areas


Fig. 11.

4. Application for study of cortical ontogenesis and Infantile Cerebral Palsy

Described technology was used between 1982 and 1989 by K. Fiedler (later – Amunts) for her dissertation: Fiedler K. “Quantitative analysis of the cytoarchitecture of Area 4 of human cerebral cortex in ontogenesis”, Dissertation of the Candidate of Medical Sciences.  (Количественный анализ цитоархитектоники поля 4 коры головного мозга человека в онтогенезе. Диссертация на соискание учёной степени кандидата медининских наук.), P.Lumumba’s University of Friendship of the Nations, Moscow, 1989.

Results of this research were published in several papers, including:

  1. Fiedler, K. Quantitative analysis of age-related changes of the volume fraction of the cellular elements of the motor area of human brain cortex. (Количественный анализ возрастных изменений объёмной фракции клеточных элементов двигательной коры головного мозга человека). In: Plasticity of the Nervous System. Academy of Medical Sciences of USSR,  Moscow, 1989, V. 18, pp. 50-52.
  2. Fiedler K., Istomin V.V., Krivitskaja G.N. Quantitative zytoarchitektonische Veraenderungen des Neocortex bei Kindern mit Bewegungastoerungen cerebraler Genese. Vortraege zur 11. Tagung der Gesselschaft fuer Neuropatologie der DDR mit internationaler Beteiligung, Magdeburg, 1989.
  3. Istomin V, Fiedler (Amunts) K. Die Automatische Morphocorticografie – eine Methode zum Erfassen von Veranderungen der Zitoarchitektonik des menschlichen Cortex cerebry. (Automatic morphocorticography – the method of objective analysis of cytoarchitonic structure of human cerebral cortex). Germ., summ. Eng. Bild und Ton 1990; (1):11-14.
  4. Amunts K. and Krivitzkaya G.  Cytoarchitectonical variations of the human cortex cerebri (area 4) in children with perinatal brain disturbances (russ). Zh. Nevropatol. Psikhiatr. im. S. S. Korsakova (1991) 10. 77-81.

  5. Istomin V, Amunts K. Application of Mathematical Morphology algorithms for automatic quantification of the cytoarchitecture of human neocortex (Eng.). Vision & Voice Magazine 1992;6(2):142-153.
  6. Katrin Amunts, Vadim Istomin, Axel Schlicher, Karl Zilles. Postnatal development of the human primary motor cortex: a quantitative cytoarchitectonic analysis” Anat. Embryol., (1995) 192:557-571 (PDF file )
  7. Katrin Amunts, Alex Schleicher and Karl Zilles. Persistence of Layer IV in the Primary Motor Cortex (area 4) of Children with Cerebral Palsy. J.Brain Res., (1997) 38, 2, 247-260 (PDF file)

Fig. 12. See publication [7], above.

The picture above is a copy from K.Fiedler’s dissertation where it was shown how the volume fraction of neurons in layer IV of primary motor cortex correlates with the level of clinical manifestation of motor dysfunction in Infantile Cerebral Palsy. Practically the same result was published in [7, above], however, the original source of it was never mentioned.

Last two papers are quite remarkable: even though the lion share of published results was obtained in Moscow, almost 10 years before publication date (which is quite obvious from earlier publications listed above, 1-5), this fact was never mentioned neither in [6] nor in [7]. Also, for some reason, my name is not included in the last paper, but Axel Schlicher and Karl Zilles are co-authors, even though the extent of their contribution to this work is unknown to me. Moreover, during all years before collapse of Berlin and Iron walls in 1990, for any scientist working in Moscow communication with West Germany would be quite impossible and even dangerous. More comprehensive review of the first of these two papers will be posted separately.

5. Re-implementation for immunohistochemistry: cortical profiles of parvalbumin and calbindin-immunoreactive neuronal sub-populations

Between 1990 and 1994, described technology was re-implemented using different hardware, language and libraries in the Laboratory of Dr. M.J.Campbell, in the Department of Psychiatry (chairman – Dr. K. Davis) of the Mount Sinai Medical School. This work became possible because Dr. Campbell was able to purchase an automated microscopy system for image processing: Quantimet-570. As a research assistant professor in Dr. Campbell’s laboratory, I became responsible for development of a new quantitative approach, which had a goal to quantify cortical cytoarchitecture in monkey and human brain. In monkey brains Dr. Campbell had a goal to study the organization of language areas; my goal was to analyze the cytoarchitectonic changes of human cortex in schizophrenia. In addition to quantification of cytoarchitecture revealed by traditional Nissl method, both studies were targeting specific neuronal sub-populations, immunoreactive to parvalbumin, calbindin (see below) and SMI-32.

Fig. 13.

3 thoughts on “The story of MCG: lost opportunity.”

  1. Thank you for paying tribute and preserving memory of yhe people who evidently have contributed so much for the scientific development!
    At the place and time where every substantial and good deed must have been done contrary to the prevailing standard, those scientists and truly gifted administratirs had the strength and dedication to carry out their vision! The following generations of the medical practitioners and researchers will carry on!

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