Physiologic Interpretation of Neuronal Structure (Continuation)

  • Santiago Ramón y Cajal


Examination of any nucleus, either with the Nissl method or with carmine or hematoxylin stain, reveals that not all component cells have the same appearance. Some are dark, i.e. intensely stained with basic dyes, and appear more or less retracted. Others are larger, less elongated, and with much lower affinity for these stains. Such differences induced Flesch and his disciples, H. Koneff (1886), Anna Gittis (1887), Anna Kotlarewsky (1887), to admit two cellular types in nuclei and other neural centers: chromophilic cells, which attract hematoxylin, carmine and basic anilines, and chromophobic cells, characterized by their pallor and little affinity for the same dyes. As already indicated by Bellonci (1888), osmic acid also distinguishes between these two types of cells, staining in a much more intense brown color the chromophilic than the chromophobic elements.


Spinal Ganglion Peripheral Process Motor Cell Physiologic Interpretation Nissl Body 
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  1. 1.
    [Tello (1907b) has shown recently that muscle spindles of Kühne may regenerate after section of the sciatic nerve. Evidently, this regeneration implies the survival of the original sensory cells.]Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    On discussing secondary axonal degeneration we were saying: “It is also indispensable to attribute this process to the resting state which necessarily occurs in fibers when their continuity with the cell from which they receive the impulse is interrupted.” (Cajal, 1890a, p 354). Marinesco’s theory represents the appropriate generalization of this principle to all trophic disorders of cells.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    These authors have produced chromatolysis in the spinal cord of animals poisoned with sodium hyposulfite and malonic nitrite, or simply subjecting them to high temperatures, without causing any neural disturbance during the life of the animal.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    In this case, and in spite of persistent paralysis, the spinal neurons presented as normal. In contrast, Dejerine (1897) indicates the existence of very marked chromatolysis in the spinal cord of a woman, who died of pneumonia without any functional disturbance of the nervous system.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    [We have investigated whether analogies exist between changes in the neurofibrillar reticule and ameboid movements. In contrast, we have recognized notable differences: the former occur at a slower pace in all cases; several hours are indeed necessary before they become noticeable.]Google Scholar


  1. a.
    Fig. 71. — a, axon; b, dispersion of chromatic material; c, dissolution of chromatic material.Google Scholar
  2. b.
    Cajal uses the terms gangliform plexus or plexiform ganglion for the nodose ganglion of the vagus nerve throughout the text.Google Scholar
  3. c.
    Fig. 72. — a, axon; b, terminal boutons; c, d, fusiform swellings.Google Scholar
  4. d.
    Fig. 74. — a, axon; b, perinuclear net.Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Wien 1999

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  • Santiago Ramón y Cajal

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