High-throughput mapping of a whole rhesus monkey brain at micrometer resolution.

2021 
Whole-brain mesoscale mapping in primates has been hindered by large brain sizes and the relatively low throughput of available microscopy methods. Here, we present an approach that combines primate-optimized tissue sectioning and clearing with ultrahigh-speed fluorescence microscopy implementing improved volumetric imaging with synchronized on-the-fly-scan and readout technique, and is capable of completing whole-brain imaging of a rhesus monkey at 1 × 1 × 2.5 µm3 voxel resolution within 100 h. We also developed a highly efficient method for long-range tracing of sparse axonal fibers in datasets numbering hundreds of terabytes. This pipeline, which we call serial sectioning and clearing, three-dimensional microscopy with semiautomated reconstruction and tracing (SMART), enables effective connectome-scale mapping of large primate brains. With SMART, we were able to construct a cortical projection map of the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus and identify distinct turning and routing patterns of individual axons in the cortical folds while approaching their arborization destinations. A whole monkey brain is imaged at high resolution in 100 hours.
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