The Filament Editor: An Interactive Software Environment for Visualization, Proof-Editing and Analysis of 3D Neuron Morphology

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:0297-zib-43157
  • Neuroanatomical analysis, such as classification of cell types, depends on reliable reconstruction of large numbers of complete 3D dendrite and axon morphologies. At present, the majority of neuron reconstructions are obtained from preparations in a single tissue slice in vitro, thus suffering from cut off dendrites and, more dramatically, cut off axons. In general, axons can innervate volumes of several cubic millimeters and may reach path lengths of tens of centimeters. Thus, their complete reconstruction requires in vivo labeling, histological sectioning and imaging of large fields of view. Unfortunately, anisotropic background conditions across such large tissue volumes, as well as faintly labeled thin neurites, result in incomplete or erroneous automated tracings and even lead experts to make annotation errors during manual reconstructions. Consequently, tracing reliability renders the major bottleneck for reconstructing complete 3D neuron morphologies. Here, we present a novel set of tools, integrated into a software environment named ‘Filament Editor’, for creating reliable neuron tracings from sparsely labeled in vivo datasets. The Filament Editor allows for simultaneous visualization of complex neuronal tracings and image data in a 3D viewer, proof-editing of neuronal tracings, alignment and interconnection across sections, and morphometric analysis in relation to 3D anatomical reference structures. We illustrate the functionality of the Filament Editor on the example of in vivo labeled axons and demonstrate that for the exemplary dataset the final tracing results after proof-editing are independent of the expertise of the human operator.

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Author:Vincent J. Dercksen, Hans-Christian Hege, Marcel Oberlaender
Document Type:ZIB-Report
MSC-Classification:68-XX COMPUTER SCIENCE (For papers involving machine computations and programs in a specific mathematical area, see Section -04 in that area)
CCS-Classification:D. Software
Year of first publication:2013
Series (Serial Number):ZIB-Report (13-75)
Published in:Neuroinformatics 12(2), pp 325-339, 2014
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Keine Bearbeitung