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Nature. 2014 Apr 10;508(7495):207-14. doi: 10.1038/nature13186. Epub 2014 Apr 2.

A mesoscale connectome of the mouse brain.

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1] Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, Washington 98103, USA [2].
Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, Washington 98103, USA.
Laboratory of Systems Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Comprehensive knowledge of the brain's wiring diagram is fundamental for understanding how the nervous system processes information at both local and global scales. However, with the singular exception of the C. elegans microscale connectome, there are no complete connectivity data sets in other species. Here we report a brain-wide, cellular-level, mesoscale connectome for the mouse. The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas uses enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-expressing adeno-associated viral vectors to trace axonal projections from defined regions and cell types, and high-throughput serial two-photon tomography to image the EGFP-labelled axons throughout the brain. This systematic and standardized approach allows spatial registration of individual experiments into a common three dimensional (3D) reference space, resulting in a whole-brain connectivity matrix. A computational model yields insights into connectional strength distribution, symmetry and other network properties. Virtual tractography illustrates 3D topography among interconnected regions. Cortico-thalamic pathway analysis demonstrates segregation and integration of parallel pathways. The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas is a freely available, foundational resource for structural and functional investigations into the neural circuits that support behavioural and cognitive processes in health and disease.

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