A Comprehensive Integrated Anatomical and Molecular Atlas of Rat Intrinsic Cardiac Nervous System

iScience. 2020 Jun 26;23(6):101140. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101140. Epub 2020 May 26.


We have developed and integrated several technologies including whole-organ imaging and software development to support an initial precise 3D neuroanatomical mapping and molecular phenotyping of the intracardiac nervous system (ICN). While qualitative and gross anatomical descriptions of the anatomy of the ICN have each been pursued, we here bring forth a comprehensive atlas of the entire rat ICN at single-cell resolution. Our work precisely integrates anatomical and molecular data in the 3D digitally reconstructed whole heart with resolution at the micron scale. We now display the full extent and the position of neuronal clusters on the base and posterior left atrium of the rat heart, and the distribution of molecular phenotypes that are defined along the base-to-apex axis, which had not been previously described. The development of these approaches needed for this work has produced method pipelines that provide the means for mapping other organs.

Keywords: Cellular Neuroscience; Imaging Anatomy; Molecular Neuroscience; Rodent Cardiology; Small Animal Imaging; Transcriptomics.