Towards neural circuit reconstruction with volume electron microscopy techniques

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Oct;16(5):562-70. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2006.08.010. Epub 2006 Sep 8.


Electron microscopy is the only currently available technique with a resolution adequate to identify and follow every axon and dendrite in dense neuropil. Reconstructions of large volumes of neural tissue, necessary to reconstruct even local neural circuits, have, however, been inhibited by the daunting task of serially sectioning and reconstructing thousands of sections. Recent technological developments have improved the quality of volume electron microscopy data and automated its acquisition. This opens up the prospect of reconstructing almost complete invertebrate and sizable fractions of vertebrate nervous systems. Such reconstructions of complete neural wiring diagrams could rekindle the tradition of relating neural function to the underlying neuroanatomical circuitry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Histological Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission*
  • Neural Pathways / ultrastructure*