3D BrainCV: simultaneous visualization and analysis of cells and capillaries in a whole mouse brain with one-micron voxel resolution

Neuroimage. 2014 Feb 15:87:199-208. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.036. Epub 2013 Oct 31.


Systematic cellular and vascular configurations are essential for understanding fundamental brain anatomy and metabolism. We demonstrated a 3D brainwide cellular and vascular (called 3D BrainCV) visualization and quantitative protocol for a whole mouse brain. We developed a modified Nissl staining method that quickly labeled the cells and blood vessels simultaneously in an entire mouse brain. Terabytes 3D datasets of the whole mouse brains, with unprecedented details of both individual cells and blood vessels, including capillaries, were simultaneously imaged at 1-μm voxel resolution using micro-optical sectioning tomography (MOST). For quantitative analysis, we proposed an automatic image-processing pipeline to perform brainwide vectorization and analysis of cells and blood vessels. Six representative brain regions from the cortex to the deep, including FrA, M1, PMBSF, V1, striatum, and amygdala, and six parameters, including cell number density, vascular length density, fractional vascular volume, distance from the cells to the nearest microvessel, microvascular length density, and fractional microvascular volume, had been quantitatively analyzed. The results showed that the proximity of cells to blood vessels was linearly correlated with vascular length density, rather than the cell number density. The 3D BrainCV made overall snapshots of the detailed picture of the whole brain architecture, which could be beneficial for the state comparison of the developing and diseased brain.

Keywords: 3D BrainCV; 3D Brainwide Cellular and Vascular; Cells and blood vessels; FrA; M1; MOST; Micro-optical sectioning tomography; Mouse brain; Nissl staining; One-micron resolution; PMBSF; V1; micro-optical sectioning tomography; the frontal association cortex; the posteromedial barrel subfield; the primary motor cortex; the primary visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / ultrastructure*
  • Capillaries / ultrastructure*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neuroglia / ultrastructure*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*