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Voxel-wise comparisons of cellular microstructure and diffusion-MRI in mouse hippocampus using 3D Bridging of Optically-clear histology with Neuroimaging Data (3D-BOND)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4011
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2018
Accepted/In press7 Feb 2018
E-pub ahead of print5 Mar 2018
PublishedMar 2018


King's Authors


A key challenge in medical imaging is determining a precise correspondence between image properties and tissue microstructure. This comparison is hindered by disparate scales and resolutions between medical imaging and histology. We present a new technique, 3D Bridging of Optically-clear histology with Neuroimaging Data (3D-BOND), for registering medical images with 3D histology to overcome these limitations. Ex vivo 120 × 120 × 200 μm resolution diffusion-MRI (dMRI) data was acquired at 7 T from adult C57Bl/6 mouse hippocampus. Tissue was then optically cleared using CLARITY and stained with cellular markers and confocal microscopy used to produce high-resolution images of the 3D-tissue microstructure. For each sample, a dense array of hippocampal landmarks was used to drive registration between upsampled dMRI data and the corresponding confocal images. The cell population in each MRI voxel was determined within hippocampal subregions and compared to MRI-derived metrics. 3D-BOND provided robust voxel-wise, cellular correlates of dMRI data. CA1 pyramidal and dentate gyrus granular layers had significantly different mean diffusivity (p > 0.001), which was related to microstructural features. Overall, mean and radial diffusivity correlated with cell and axon density and fractional anisotropy with astrocyte density, while apparent fibre density correlated negatively with axon density. Astrocytes, axons and blood vessels correlated to tensor orientation.

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