Micro-Optical Sectioning Tomography to Obtain a High-Resolution Atlas of the Mouse Brain

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Science  03 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6009, pp. 1404-1408
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191776

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Better Brain Maps

A high-resolution atlas of the complete neuronal connectivity in a whole brain should fundamentally advance our understanding of the organization and function of animal nervous systems. Now, A. Li. et al. (p. 1404, published online 4 November) describe an automated system, micro-optical sectioning tomography, that allowed three-dimensional mapping of the morphology and spatial location of neurons and traces of neurites in a whole, intact mouse brain.


The neuroanatomical architecture is considered to be the basis for understanding brain function and dysfunction. However, existing imaging tools have limitations for brainwide mapping of neural circuits at a mesoscale level. We developed a micro-optical sectioning tomography (MOST) system that can provide micrometer-scale tomography of a centimeter-sized whole mouse brain. Using MOST, we obtained a three-dimensional structural data set of a Golgi-stained whole mouse brain at the neurite level. The morphology and spatial locations of neurons and traces of neurites could be clearly distinguished. We found that neighboring Purkinje cells stick to each other.

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