Counting neurons is not as easy as ‘one-two, three’

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An accurate determination of the number of neurons in a segment of bowel is fundamental to establish population norms and identify neurodegenerative conditions, including age-related loss of myenteric ganglion cells. Although the latter phenomenon has been observed by several laboratories in various mammals, in this issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Gamage et al. present evidence that colonic myenteric ganglion cells are maintained in aged mice. These discordant findings prompt a thoughtful consideration, the range of variables affecting the accuracy of neuronal counts and the survival of neuronal populations in aging animals.

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