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J Anat. 2004 Feb;204(2):93-102.

A multimodal, multidimensional atlas of the C57BL/6J mouse brain.

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Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, 710 Westwood Plaza, Room 4-238, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA.


Strains of mice, through breeding or the disruption of normal genetic pathways, are widely used to model human diseases. Atlases are an invaluable aid in understanding the impact of such manipulations by providing a standard for comparison. We have developed a digital atlas of the adult C57BL/6J mouse brain as a comprehensive framework for storing and accessing the myriad types of information about the mouse brain. Our implementation was constructed using several different imaging techniques: magnetic resonance microscopy, blockface imaging, classical histology and immunohistochemistry. Along with raw and annotated images, it contains database management systems and a set of tools for comparing information from different techniques. The framework allows facile correlation of results from different animals, investigators or laboratories by establishing a canonical representation of the mouse brain and providing the tools for the insertion of independent data into the same space as the atlas. This tool will aid in managing the increasingly complex and voluminous amounts of information about the mammalian brain. It provides a framework that encompasses genetic information in the context of anatomical imaging and holds tremendous promise for producing new insights into the relationship between genotype and phenotype. We describe a suite of tools that enables the independent entry of other types of data, facile retrieval of information and straightforward display of images. Thus, the atlas becomes a framework for managing complex genetic and epigenetic information about the mouse brain. The atlas and associated tools may be accessed at

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