Neurolucida is the Leading Software for Neuron Reconstruction

When it comes to preferred neuron reconstruction systems, Neurolucida “dominated the last decade” according to a paper published earlier this year in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

The paper, “Digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology: three decades of research trends” (Halavi et al, 2012), offers an overview of the history of digital neuron reconstruction and presents research trends on specific animal species, brain regions, neuron types, and experimental approaches.

Beginning with our own company co-founder Edmund Glaser’s use of a computer microscope to trace neurons (Glaser and Van der Loos, 1965), the authors go on to describe the development of digital reconstruction techniques to the present day. They explain how in the early 1980s computers with microscopes and digital stages first allowed scientists to successfully reconstruct neurons, and by the turn of the millennium, Neurolucida had become the most widely cited system for neuron tracing and reconstruction.

By analyzing tens of thousands of research papers in a variety of scientific literature databases, the authors identified 902 publications published over the last three decades where neuronal morphology played a central role.

Some interesting statistics from their research include:

  • The neocortex and hippocampus were the most frequently investigated brain regions.
  • Digital reconstructions from the amygdala have only started to be published in the past decade.
  • Pyramidal neurons are the most common reconstructions, making up more than half of the reported cell types in neocortex and hippocampus combined.
  • The numbers of reported reconstructions span a broad range with most reports including between 3 and 100 neurons
  • The average number of reconstructions per publication is significantly increasing and has nearly doubled over the last two decades

Once digital reconstructions were identified, the authors added them to NeuroMorpho.org, an open archive for published neuron reconstructions developed at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia.

Read “Digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology: three decades of research trends” at frontiersin.org.

{Halavi M, Hamilton KA, Parekh R and Ascoli GA (2012). Digital reconstructions of neuronal morphology: three decades of research trends. Front. Neurosci. 6:49. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00049}

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