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Vol. 49, No. 2, December, 2000

In this issue :

Dr. Patnaik V.V.Gopichand

Gross Anatomy of the Caudate Lobe of the Liver
Sahni, D., Jit, I., Sodhi L. Department of Anatomy, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Branching Pattern of Axillary Artery - A Morphological Study
*Patnaik V.V.G., Kalsey, G; Singla Rajan, K. Department of Anatomy, Government Medical College, Amritsar, *Patiala. INDIA

The Course, Relations and The Branching Pattern Of The Middle Meningeal Artery In South Indians
Manjunath, K.Y. & Thomas, I.M. Department of Anatomy, St. John�fs Medical College, Bangalore-560 034 INDIA

Morphometry of the Human Inferior Olivary Nucleus
Dhall, U; Chhabra, S. & Rathi, S.K. Department of Anatomy, Pt. B.D. Sharma P.G.I.M.S., Rohtak. INDIA

Management of Turner Syndrome in India Using Anthropometric Assessment of Response to Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Sehgal R. and Singh A. Department of Anatomy, Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Lok Nayak, G.B. Pant & G.N.E.C. Hospitals, New Delhi ? 110 002 INDIA.

Insertion Of Umbilical Cord On The Placenta In Hypertensive Mother
Rath* G, Garg** K, and Sood*** M. *Department of Anatomy, ***Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi-110001 **Department of Anatomy, Santosh Medical College, Gaziabad. INDIA

Utility Of Finger Prints in Myocardial Infarction Patients
Dhall, U; Rathee, S.K; *Dhall, A; Department of Anatomy & *Medicine, Pt. B.D. Sharma, PGIMS, Rohtak. INDIA

The Prenatal Parotid Gland
Fouzia Nayeem, Sagaff S., *Krishna G., **Rao S. Department of Anatomy, K.A.A.U. Jeddah. Department of *Pediatrics & **Surgery, Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad. INDIA

Possibility of Cell Death Induced Skeletal Malformations Of The Upper Limb
Sinha, D.N. Department of Anatomy, B.R.D. Medical College, Gorakhpur?273013 INDIA,

Efficacy of Manual Bladder Expression in Relieving Urine Retention After Traumatic Paraplegia In Experimental Animals.
Preeths, T.S., Sankar, V. Muthusamy, R. Department of Anatomy, Dr. A. Lakshmanasamy Mudaliar Postgraduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani Campus, Chennai 600 113, India.

Stress And Serum Cholesterol Levels-An Experimental Study
Jain, S.K. *Pandey, S.N. *Srivastava, R.K. Ghosh, S.K. Department of Anatomy, D.R.P.G. Medical College, Kangra at Tanda. * Department of Anatomy, G.S.V. Medical College, Kanpur.

Effect of Ibuprofen On White Cell Series of Bone Marrow Of Albino Rats
* Bhargava, R., Chandra, N., Naresh, M., *Sakhuja S. * Department of Anatomy, M.L.N. Medical College, Allahabad * Lady Hardinge Medical College, N. Delhi, India.

JB4 An Embedding Medium For Flourescent Tracer Technique
*Gupta, M; **Mishra, S., ***Sengupta P. Department of Anatomy, *PGI, Chandigarh; **AIIMS, N. Delhi; ***UCMS, New Delhi. INDIA

Comparative Anatomy of Cardiac Veins in Mammals
Kumar Keshaw Department of Anatomy, Institute of Medical Sciences B.H.U., Varanasi?5. INDIA

Aplasia Cutis Type 9 With Trisomy-13 Syndrome ? A Rare Association
Adhisivam, B, Narayanan, P, Vishnu Bhat, B, *Ramachandra Rao. R*, *Rao. S*, Kusre, G.* Department Pediatrics & *Anatomy, JIPMER, Pondicherry - 605 006

Absence of Musculocutaneous Nerve And The Innervation of Coracobrachialis, Biceps Brachii And Brachialis From The Median Nerve
Sud, M.; Sharma A. Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana. Punjab INDIA.

A Rare Pseudo Ansa Cervicalis: A Case Report
Indrasingh I. and Vettivel S. Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India

A Rare Variation In The Relation Of Omohyoid Muscle: A Case Report
Vettivel, S. Korula, A. and Koshy S. Department of Anatomy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India

Surgical Incisions ? Their Anatomical Basis Part II - Upper Limb
1Patnaik V.V.G., 2Singla Rajan. K., 3 Gupta P.N. Department of Anatomy, Government Medical College, Patiala1, Amritsar2, 3Department of Orthopedics, Government Medical College, Chandigarh. INDIA

Anatomy Of Temporomandibular Joint?A Review
1Patnaik V.V.G., 3Bala Sanju; 2Singla Rajan K. Department of Anatomy, Govt. Medical College, 1Patiala, 2Amritsar, 3Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Pb. Govt. Dental College, Amritsar


J Anat. Soc. India 49(2) 139-141 (2000)
Morphometry of the Human Inferior Olivary Nucleus

Dhall, U; Chhabra, S. & Rathi, S.K. Department of Anatomy, Pt. B.D. Sharma P.G.I.M.S., Rohtak. INDIA

Abstract : Suface area and volume of grey matter of human inferior olivary nucleus were estimated in ten olivary nuclei using stereological techniques to provide base-line data for future studies. There was a wide inter-individual variation in the values. The difference in these values on right and left side was however, not statistically significant. The techniques used are still quite labourious in the absence of image-analyser which all institutes can not afford.

Keywords : Inferior olivary nucleus, Morphometry


Inferior olivary nucleus has been extensively investigated from the point of view of its comparative morphology (Kappers et al, 1936). However, there is not enough quantitative data pertaining to this nucleus in human brain probably because of the extensive labour involved. Recently a number of stereological techniques have been evolved which have made the quantitative studies relatively simpler and at the same time accurate (Elias and Hyde, 1980). Present study was undertaken to assess the surface area and volume of this folded mass of grey matter using stereological techniques.

Material and Methods

Present study was conducted on profiles of serial sections of olivary nuclei. These profiles were earlier used for studying morphology of inferior olivary nucleus by reconstruction technique (Singh, 1982). The profiles were drawn by using a vertical microprojector at a magnification of �L20 from 20m thick serial sections of ten olivary nuclei obtained from five human brains of formalin perfused dissection hall cadavers. These sections were stained with luxol fast blue and neutral red.

Following dimensions of olivary nuclei were estimated from these profiles :
1. Length, width and antero-posterior dimension.
2. Surface area.
3. Volume of grey matter.

Length, Width and Antero-posterior dimensions
(a) Length of olivary nucleus was determined by multiplying the total number of profiles x interval between profiles (180m).
(b) Width was taken as the maximum dimension along the long axis of the profile. It was measured directly from the profile. Ten profiles from the middle part of the nucleus were measured and mean was taken, keeping in mind the magnification factor.
(c) Antero-posterior dimension was taken as the maximum dimension at right angles to the width and was measured directly from the profile in the same way as the measurement of width above.

Surface Area (Linear intercept technique; Aherne and Dunnill, 1982)

A transparent grid of parallel lines 3 mm apart was placed on the profile twice, first at random and then at right angles to the first orientation. The linear intercepts with the outline of the profiles were counted. The surface area (S) was then estimated by the

following formula : S = 2xPxhxt

where 'P' is the total number of intercepts for all profiles; 'h' is the distance between parallel lines (3 mm), 't' is the thickness of sections studied (180 m), and 'm' is the magnification factor (�L20) and 'N' is the number of times the grid is placed (2).

Volume : (Point-counting technique ; Aherne and Dunnill, 1982)

A transparent grid of equidistant points, 3 mm apart arranged in the form of a square was superimposed on the profile of olivary nucleus at random. The number of points falling over the grey matter were counted. The area of each profile was calculated by the formula-Area (A) = nxa; where n is the number of points counted and 'a' is the area of each point i.e. 9 mm2. The volume of grey matter of each nucleus was then calculated by the following formula :

Volume (V) = �L [4(A1 + A3 + A5?????An-1)+2 (A2+A4??An-2)] where A1, A2, A3???? are the areas of first profile, second profile, third profile ???? and 'n' is the total number of sections and 'h' is the interval between adjacent profiles (180 m) and m is the magnification (�L400)..

To estimate the index of folding was calculated.


Table 1. shows the length, width and anteroposterior dimensions of all the olivary nuclei studied. The length of olivary nucleus varied from 11.8-14.1 mm, width from 6.8-7.2 mm and antero-posterior diameter from 3.9-4.1 mm. There was no statistically significant difference between mean values on right and left sides.

Table 1. Dimensions of olivary nucleus (ON)
Nucleus Length (mm) Width (mm) AP diameter (mm)




Mean (n=10) 12.9+0.8 7.0+0.1 4.0+0.7

Table 2 shows the surface area and volume of grey matter of olivary nuclei. The surface area of the nucleus varied from 311-447.8 mm2 while volume varied from 53.4-82.7 mm3. To find the index of folding, ratio of surface area and volume was calculated and it was found to vary between 5.2 and 6.2. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean values, on right & left sides.

Table 2. Surface area (SA) Volume (Vol) and index of folding of olivary nucleus (ON)

Right Left
S.A. (mm2) Vol (mm2) S.A./
S.A. (mm2) Vol (mm3) S.A./
Mean 382.2 66.18 5.7 390.5 68.3 5.6


Pathological and experimental conditions and senescence produce changes in the morphology of nervous tissue. Qualitative changes are prone to subjective bias. So to add objectivity to the results quantitation is required.

The phylogenetic development of olivary nucleus is closely related to that of the cerebellum (Kappers et al 1936). The nucleus has a point to point relationship with cerebellar cortex i.e. different subnuclei of the inferior olive terminate contralaterally on discrete, longitudinal strips of Purkinje cells (Williams et al, 1995). It is expected that surface area of olivary nucleus should bear a definite relation to that of cerebellum. Although there is plenty of quantitative data available for cerebellum (See, Williams et al, 1995 ; Palay and Palay, 1974), there is relative paucity of similar data for inferior olivary nucleus.

In the present study the length, breadth and anteroposterior diameter of olivary nucleus were determined and length was found to be similar to that reported in literature (Williams et al 1995). No reference to breadth and anteroposterior diameter was available.

The quantitative data available for human olivary nucleus revealed that there are about 5000 neurons/mm3 (Escobar et al, 1968) in the olivary nucleus. This estimation was based on counting the number of neuronal nucleoli and bodies in unit area of the nucleus. The surface area and volume of the nucleus does not seem to have been reported.

In the present study surface area and volume of grey matter of olivary nuclei showed a wide variation 311 mm2 ? 447.8 mm2 and 53.4-82.7 mm3 respectively. Similar wide variation is reported for volume of dentate nuclei varying from 124-230 mm3 (Daron, 1960). Although it is difficult to explain the reason for such variation but it could be due to difference in sex or age of individual, which is not known for these specimens. Difference in values on right and left side was found to be 10% or less. Surface area to volume ratio would give information regarding the intricacy of folding of the nucleus and would be a useful criterion in comparative morphological studies. In the present study this ratio varied from 5.2-6.2.

These data provide base line data for further studies related to ageing, stress or other experimental conditions. The techniques used are still quite labourious in the absence of image-analyser-an instrument not available in all institutes.


Permission by Dr. Inderbir Singh, Prof. emeritus, Pt. B.D. Sharma P.G.I.M.S. Rohtak to use the material is gratefully acknowledged.


1. Aherne, W.A. and Dunnill, M.S. : Morphometry, Edward Arnold, London, pp 155-7. (1982)
2. Daron, G.H. (1960) : Morphology of the cerebellar dentate nucleus in a chimpanzee. Anatomical Record, 138 : 81-92.
3. Elias, H. and Hyde, D.M. (1980) : An elementary introduction to stereology (Quantitative microscopy). American Journal of Anatomy, 159 : 412-446.
4. Escobar, A., Sampedro, E.D., Dow, R.S. (1968) : Quantitative data on the inferior olivary nucleus in man, cat and vampire bat. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 132, 397-404.
5. Kappers. C.V.A., Huber, G.C. and Crosby, E.C. : The comparative anatomy of the nervous system of vertebrates. Mcmillan, New York, pp 668-695. (1936)
6. Palay, S.L. and Palay, V.C. : Cerebellar cortex, cytology and organisation, Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (1974)
7. Singh, I. (1982) : Surface features of the inferior olivary nucleus. Journal of Anatomical Society of India, 31: 97-101.
8. Williams, P.L., Bannister, L.H. Berry, M.M., Collins,
P., Dyson, M., Dussek, J.E. and Ferguson, M.W.J. : Gray's Anatomy, 38th ed., Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, pp. 1027-1065. (1995)

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