A three-dimensional stereotaxic MRI brain atlas of the cichlid fish Oreochromis mossambicus

PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44086. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044086. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


The African cichlid Oreochromis mossambicus (Mozambique tilapia) has been used as a model system in a wide range of behavioural and neurobiological studies. The increasing number of genetic tools available for this species, together with the emerging interest in its use for neurobiological studies, increased the need for an accurate hodological mapping of the tilapia brain to supplement the available histological data. The goal of our study was to elaborate a three-dimensional, high-resolution digital atlas using magnetic resonance imaging, supported by Nissl staining. Resulting images were viewed and analysed in all orientations (transverse, sagittal, and horizontal) and manually labelled to reveal structures in the olfactory bulb, telencephalon, diencephalon, optic tectum, and cerebellum. This high resolution tilapia brain atlas is expected to become a very useful tool for neuroscientists using this fish model and will certainly expand their use in future studies regarding the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy, Artistic*
  • Animals
  • Atlases as Topic*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stereotaxic Techniques*
  • Tilapia / anatomy & histology*
  • Tilapia / physiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Grant support

This study was funded by FCT (Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal) with the grant PTDC/PSI/71811/2006 and the Plurianual Programme R&D unit MAR-LVT-Lisboa-331). During this study JMS and MCT were supported by FCT Ph.D. fellowships (SFRH/BD/40976/2007 and SFRH/BD/44848/2008, respectively). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.