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Methods Mol Biol. 2007;401:183-94. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-520-6_11.

Brain atlases and neuroanatomic imaging.

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Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Quantifying the effect of a genetic manipulation or disease is a complicated process in a population of animals. Probabilistic brain atlases can capture population variability and be used to quantify those variations in anatomy as measured by structural imaging. Minimum deformation atlases (MDAs), a subclass of probabilistic atlases, are intensity-based averages of a collection of scans in a common space unbiased by selection of a single target image. Here, we describe a method for generating an MDA from a set of magnetic resonance microscopy images. First, the images are segmented to remove any non-brain tissue and bias field corrected to remove field inhomogeneities. The corrected images are then linearly aligned to a representative scan, the geometric mean of all the transformations is calculated, and a minimum deformation target (MDT) is produced by averaging the volumes in this new space. The brains are then non-linearly aligned to the MDT to produce the MDA. Finally, the images are linearly aligned to the MDA using a full-affine transformation to spatially and intensity normalize them, removing global differences in size, shape, and position but retaining anatomically significant differences.

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