Large-scale automated identification of mouse brain cells in confocal light sheet microscopy images

Bioinformatics. 2014 Sep 1;30(17):i587-93. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu469.


Motivation: Recently, confocal light sheet microscopy has enabled high-throughput acquisition of whole mouse brain 3D images at the micron scale resolution. This poses the unprecedented challenge of creating accurate digital maps of the whole set of cells in a brain.

Results: We introduce a fast and scalable algorithm for fully automated cell identification. We obtained the whole digital map of Purkinje cells in mouse cerebellum consisting of a set of 3D cell center coordinates. The method is accurate and we estimated an F1 measure of 0.96 using 56 representative volumes, totaling 1.09 GVoxel and containing 4138 manually annotated soma centers.

Availability and implementation: Source code and its documentation are available at The whole pipeline of methods is implemented in Python and makes use of Pylearn2 and modified parts of Scikit-learn. Brain images are available on request.

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Neurons / cytology*