Spatial cluster analysis of nanoscopically mapped serotonin receptors for classification of fixed brain tissue

Jaroslaw Jacak, Michael Sams, Leila Muresan, Rene Silye, Kurt Schilcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We present a cluster spatial analysis method using nanoscopic dSTORM images to determine changes in protein cluster distributions within brain tissue. Such methods are suitable to investigate human brain tissue and will help to achieve a deeper understanding of brain disease along with aiding drug development. Human brain tissue samples are usually treated postmortem via standard fixation protocols, which are established in clinical laboratories. Therefore, our localization microscopy-based method was adapted to characterize protein density and protein cluster localization in samples fixed using different protocols followed by common fluorescent immunohistochemistry techniques. The localization microscopy allows nanoscopic mapping of serotonin 5-HT1A receptor groups within a two-dimensional image of a brain tissue slice. These nanoscopically mapped proteins can be confined to clusters by applying the proposed statistical spatial analysis. Selected features of such clusters were subsequently used to characterize and classify the tissue. Samples were obtained from different types of patients, fixed with different preparation methods, and finally stored in a human tissue bank. To verify the proposed method, samples of a cryopreserved healthy brain have been compared with epitope-retrieved and paraffin-fixed tissues. Furthermore, samples of healthy brain tissues were compared with data obtained from patients suffering from mental illnesses (e.g., major depressive disorder). Our work demonstrates the applicability of localization microscopy and image analysis methods for comparison and classification of human brain tissues at a nanoscopic level. Furthermore, the presented workflow marks a unique technological advance in the characterization of protein distributions in brain tissue sections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011021
Pages (from-to)011021
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • cluster analysis
  • fluorescent brain imaging
  • localization microscopy
  • protein clusters
  • serotonin receptor
  • spatial analysis
  • Histocytochemistry/methods
  • Optical Imaging
  • Receptors, Serotonin/analysis
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Imaging/methods
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Microscopy
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aged
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cluster Analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial cluster analysis of nanoscopically mapped serotonin receptors for classification of fixed brain tissue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this