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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Transmitted light brightfield mosaic microscopy for three-dimensional tracing of single neuron morphology
Author(s): Marcel Oberlaender; Randy M. Bruno; Bert Julian Sakmann; Philip Julian Broser
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Paper Abstract

A fundamental challenge in neuroscience is the determination of the three-dimensional (3D) morphology of neurons in the cortex. Here we describe a semiautomated method to trace single biocytin-filled neurons using a transmitted light brightfield microscope. The method includes 3D tracing of dendritic trees and axonal arbors from image stacks of serial 100-μm-thick tangential brain sections. Key functionalities include mosaic scanning and optical sectioning, high-resolution image restoration, and fast, parallel computing for neuron tracing. The mosaic technique compensates for the limited field of view at high magnification, allowing the acquisition of high-resolution image stacks on a scale of millimeters. The image restoration by deconvolution is based on experimentally verified assumptions about the optical system. Restoration yields a significant improvement of signal-to-noise ratio and resolution of neuronal structures in the image stack. Application of local threshold and thinning filters result in a 3D graph representation of dendrites and axons in a section. The reconstructed branches are then manually edited and aligned. Branches from adjacent sections are spliced, resulting in a complete 3D reconstruction of a neuron. A comparison with 3D reconstructions from manually traced neurons shows that the semiautomated system is a fast and reliable alternative to the manual tracing systems currently available.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2007
PDF: 19 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 12(6) 064029 doi: 10.1117/1.2815693
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 12, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
Marcel Oberlaender, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung (Germany)
Randy M. Bruno, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung (Germany)
Bert Julian Sakmann, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung (Germany)
Philip Julian Broser, Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung (Germany)

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