The branching patterns of axons and dendrites are fundamental structural properties that affect the synaptic connectivity of axons. Although today three-dimensional images of fluorescently labeled processes can be obtained to study axonal branching, there are no robust methods of tracing individual axons. This paper describes a repulsive force based snake model to segment and track axonal profiles in 3D images. This new method segments all the axonal profiles in a 2D image and then uses the results obtained from that image as prior information to help segment the adjacent 2D image. In this way, the segmentation successfully connects axonal profiles over hundreds of images in a 3D image stack. Individual axons can then be extracted based on the segmentation results. The utility and performance of the method are demonstrated using 3D axonal images obtained from transgenic mice that express fluorescent protein.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience