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Automated Tracing of Horizontal Neuron Processes During Retinal Development...

Publication Type
Journal Name
NIH Public Access
Publication Date
Page Numbers
583 to 593

In the developing mammalian retina, horizontal neurons undergo a dramatic reorganization oftheir processes shortly after they migrate to their appropriate laminar position. This is an importantprocess because it is now understood that the apical processes are important for establishing theregular mosaic of horizontal cells in the retina and proper reorganization during lamination isrequired for synaptogenesis with photoreceptors and bipolar neurons. However, this process isdifficult to study because the analysis of horizontal neuron anatomy is labor intensive and time-consuming. In this paper, we present a computational method for automatically tracing the three-dimensional (3-D) dendritic structure of horizontal retinal neurons in two-photon laser scanningmicroscope (TPLSM) imagery. Our method is based on 3-D skeletonization and is thus able topreserve the complex structure of the dendritic arbor of these cells. We demonstrate theeffectiveness of our approach by comparing our tracing results against two sets of semi-automatedtraces over a set of 10 horizontal neurons ranging in age from P1 to P5. We observe an averageagreement level of 81% between our automated trace and the manual traces. This automatedmethod will serve as an important starting point for further refinement and optimization.