Home Cellular science Cell structure of human metathalamus

Cell structure of human metathalamus


image: High-resolution 3D reconstruction of the two metathalamic structures: six layers of the lateral geniculate body (left) and three subdivisions of the medial geniculate body (right) in the BigBrain dataset
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Credit: Kiwitz, Brandstetter et al, 2022

The human metathalamus is extremely important for relaying auditory and visual signals to the rest of the brain. However, a detailed three-dimensional map of the cellular structure of the region was still missing. Using the BigBrain dataset, an integral part of HBP, the researchers focused on the two distinct parts of the metathalamus: the medial geniculate body (MGB) with its subdivisions; and the lateral geniculate body (LGB) with its six layers.

“The BigBrain dataset helps us understand the structure of complex subcortical nuclei,” says Andrea Brandstetter from the Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine, Forschungszentrum Jülich, in a video by the HBP Partnership Project HIBALL. “New deep learning-based approaches are being used to learn more about the topography and cellular architecture of the metathalamus,” continues Kai Kiwitz from the Cecile and Oskar Vogt Institute for Brain Research, University Hospital Düsseldorf. .

The new 3D maps are freely available online as part of the EBRAINS Atlas; you can browse them here. “In this way, they can be used by the scientific community to link BigBrain’s microscale histology with functional measurements,” says Kiwitz. In addition to expanding our knowledge of brain structure, the maps also have clinical relevance: many neurological disorders and dysfunctions involve the metathalamus, and very detailed information regarding these structures could be used in conjunction with neuroimaging to better illuminate the diagnosis and facilitate neurosurgery and deep care. brain stimulation.

The study was funded by the Human Brain Project, the Helmholtz International BigBrain Analytics and Learning Laboratory, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. The computing time was provided by the Jülich Supercomputing Center.

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