Semi-automated reconstruction of neural circuits using electron microscopy

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Oct;20(5):667-75. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Reconstructing neuronal circuits at the level of synapses is a central problem in neuroscience, and the focus of the nascent field of connectomics. Previously used to reconstruct the C. elegans wiring diagram, serial-section transmission electron microscopy (ssTEM) is a proven technique for the task. However, to reconstruct more complex circuits, ssTEM will require the automation of image processing. We review progress in the processing of electron microscopy images and, in particular, a semi-automated reconstruction pipeline deployed at Janelia Farm. Drosophila circuits underlying identified behaviors are being reconstructed in the pipeline with the goal of generating a complete Drosophila connectome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Image Cytometry / instrumentation
  • Image Cytometry / methods
  • Image Cytometry / trends*
  • Microscopy, Electron / instrumentation
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Microscopy, Electron / trends*
  • Nerve Net / ultrastructure*
  • Neurobiology / instrumentation
  • Neurobiology / methods
  • Neurobiology / trends*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / trends*