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Neuroimage. 2007 Mar;35(1):9-15. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Internet-enabled high-resolution brain mapping and virtual microscopy.

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Center for Neuroscience University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


Virtual microscopy involves the conversion of histological sections mounted on glass microscope slides to high-resolution digital images. Virtual microscopy offers several advantages over traditional microscopy, including remote viewing and data sharing, annotation, and various forms of data mining. We describe a method utilizing virtual microscopy for generation of internet-enabled, high-resolution brain maps and atlases. Virtual microscopy-based digital brain atlases have resolutions approaching 100,000 dpi, which exceeds by three or more orders of magnitude resolutions obtainable in conventional print atlases, MRI, and flat-bed scanning. Virtual microscopy-based digital brain atlases are superior to conventional print atlases in five respects: (1) resolution, (2) annotation, (3) interaction, (4) data integration, and (5) data mining. Implementation of virtual microscopy-based digital brain atlases is located at, which is based on more than 10 million megapixels (35 terabytes) of scanned images of serial sections of primate and non-primate brains with a resolution of 0.46 microm/pixel (55,000 dpi). The method can be replicated by labs seeking to increase accessibility and sharing of neuroanatomical data. Online tools offer the possibility of visualizing and exploring completely digitized sections of brains at a sub-neuronal level and can facilitate large-scale connectional tracing, histochemical, and stereological analyses.

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