This article is part of the Research Topic Novel molecular and cellular approaches to brain mapping

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 23 April 2010 | doi: 10.3389/neuro.09.009.2010

Towards ultra-high resolution fibre tract mapping of the human brain – registration of polarised light images and reorientation of fibre vectors

Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-, INM-2, INM-4), Research Centre Jülich and Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance (JARA-Brain), Aachen, Germany
Department of Physics, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
C. and O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
Polarised light imaging (PLI) utilises the birefringence of the myelin sheaths in order to visualise the orientation of nerve fibres in microtome sections of adult human post-mortem brains at ultra-high spatial resolution. The preparation of post-mortem brains for PLI involves fixation, freezing and cutting into 100-μm-thick sections. Hence, geometrical distortions of histological sections are inevitable and have to be removed for 3D reconstruction and subsequent fibre tracking. We here present a processing pipeline for 3D reconstruction of these sections using PLI derived multimodal images of post-mortem brains. Blockface images of the brains were obtained during cutting; they serve as reference data for alignment and elimination of distortion artefacts. In addition to the spatial image transformation, fibre orientation vectors were reoriented using the transformation fields, which consider both affine and subsequent non-linear registration. The application of this registration and reorientation approach results in a smooth fibre vector field, which reflects brain morphology. PLI combined with 3D reconstruction and fibre tracking is a powerful tool for human brain mapping. It can also serve as an independent method for evaluating in vivo fibre tractography.
human brain atlas, polarised light imaging, image registration, fibre orientation map, vector reorientation
Palm C, Axer M, Gräßel D, Dammers J, Lindemeyer J, Zilles K, Pietrzyk U and Amunts K (2010). Towards ultra-high resolution fibre tract mapping of the human brain – registration of polarised light images and reorientation of fibre vectors. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 4:9. doi: 10.3389/neuro.09.009.2010
31 July 2009;
 Paper pending published:
28 September 2009;
23 January 2010;
 Published online:
23 April 2010.

Edited by:

andreas Jeromin, Banyan Biomarkers, USA

Reviewed by:

Susumu Mori, John Hopkins University, USA
Bruce Fischl, Harvard Medical School, USA
Lilla Zöllei, Harvard Medical School, USA
© 2010 Palm, Axer, Gräßel, Dammers, Lindemeyer, Zilles, Pietrzyk and Amunts. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
Christoph Palm, Research Centre Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany. e-mail:
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