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By Prof. Dr. Valentino Braitenberg, Priv. Doz. Dr. Almut Schüz (auth.)

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E. the area of the electron micrograph not showing neural or glial cell bodies, over the entire area. Except for layer I, which is almost exclusively neuropil, the values are between 80 and 90%. In this the blood vessels have not yet been considered. Their part of the volume was determined on micrographs at lower magnification and was found to be 4%. According to a wellknown theorem of stereology (Underwood 1970), in a volume consisting of several distinct fractions, the relative proportions of these 40 Chapter 6 fractions appearing on sections are the same as those in the volume.

An alternative explanation for the high density of axons in the cortex is that much of this axonal population is of external origin, being derived from axons reaching the cortex from other regions of the nervous system. If this were so, the lower value for the axonal density which we obtain by multiplying the number of cortical neurons by the length of their axons in Golgi preparations would not be surprising. It would actually make it possible to estimate the proportion of axons of extra and intracortical origin, a value which is difficult to obtain by other means.

R A • 5 ' Fig. 8. The geometrical situation involved in counting disc-shaped objects of diameter d, oriented at various angles a, which are partly contained in a slice of thickness s. A is the distance of the centre of the disc from the surface of the slice 4 Density of Neurons Contrary to the density of synapses which, as we shall see, does not vary much from animal to animal and from place to place in the same brain, the number of neurons per unit volume varies a great deal. As a rule the density of neurons is lower in larger brains, a fact which is explained in a qualitative way by the larger size of the neurons in the larger animal.

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