Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have just launched a web-based 3-D digital atlas browser and database of the brain of a popular laboratory mouse (see http://www.bnl.gov/CTN/mouse).
“Neuroscientists around the world can now download these extremely accurate anatomical templates and use them to map other data — such as which parts of the brain are metabolically active and where particular genes are expressed — and for making quantitative anatomical comparisons with other, genetically engineered mouse strains,” said project leader Helene Benveniste, who is a researcher in Brookhaven’s medical department and a professor of anesthesiology at Stony Brook University.
The database was created using high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) microscopy at the University of Florida in collaboration with researchers from Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Translational Neuroimaging. The work was done in parallel with an international collaboration, the Mouse Phenome Database (MPD) project, which was created to establish a collection of baseline phenotypic data from commonly used inbred mice.
The new brain atlas database consists of 3-D anatomical data from 10 adult male mice of the strain C57BL/6J, and contains data on 20 segmented structures, including variability of brain structures across the strain, and downloadable visualization tools.
The research that makes up this database was published as a cover article in the October 2005 issue of the journal Neuroscience.
This research was initially funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and then by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The development of the web-browser and database was supported by both NIBIB and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. A variety of brain-imaging techniques including magnetic resonance imaging are a direct outgrowth of DOE’s support of basic physics research.