Structural analysis of 3D cellular models of cortical glia, neurons and vasculature from serial block-face electron microscopy of p14 rat cortex

The acquisition of terabyte-sized datasets is becoming increasingly common, thanks to the advancement of high-throughput microscopy techniques. Serial block-face imaging (SBEM), for instance, allows segmentation and reconstruction of biological structures to reveal spatial features inaccessible with two-dimensional images. Here, we imaged a 750000 cubic micron volume of the somatosensory cortex from a juvenile P14 rat. 186nuclei were reconstructed and classified as neuronal or glial, based on features of the soma and the processes. We then performed quantitative analysis exclusively on the three-dimensional models of the reconstructed objects: 4 neurons, 4 astrocytes, 4 microglia, 4 pericytes, including their mitochondria, 186 nuclei, and 213 myelinated axons. Out of the data that we generated, we observed that neurons have larger nuclei, which correlated with their lesser density, and that astrocytes and pericytes have a higher surface to volume ratio, compared to other cell types. All reconstructed morphologies represent an important resource for computational neuroscientists, as morphological quantitative information can be inferred, to tune simulations that take into account the spatial compartmentalization of the different cell types.

This work was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No. 3438 KAUST-EPFL Alliance for Integrative Modeling of Brain Energy Metabolism.



Conference/Event Name
14th European Meeting on Glial Cells in Health and Disease (GLIA)

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