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Automated analysis of morphological and synaptic characteristics in neurons

Filed under:

Johannes Hjorth (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Sabine Schmitz (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Differences in morphology and distribution of synapses and proteins have implications for the function of neurons. Manual quantification of protein expression in immuno-fluorescence images is both time consuming and prone to observer bias.

Here we present SynD, a MATLAB based program, developed to automatically analyze dendrite and synapse characteristics in immuno-fluorentscence images. The program uses a combination of steerable filters and deconvolution to detect dendrites and synapses. It reports dendrite morphology, synapse size, number and distribution, as well as protein expression at the soma, at synapses and as a function of distance from the soma. The dendritic tree is characterized using Sholl analysis.

The automatic measures have been compared to manually traced neurons and synapses showing good accuracy. Results are exported as csv files readable by excel and to user-friendly summary figures.


Automated analysis of neuronal morphology, synapse number and synaptic recruitment.
Schmitz SK, Hjorth JJJ, et al 2011, J Neurosci Methods 195(2):185-93 doi:
Preferred presentation format: Demo
Why demo: A demo would allow me to show the program in action to the visitors, demonstrating how to use it. If there are no available demo-slots I could do a poster presentation, but that would miss the interactive elements. Please note that I listed my old affiliation for this poster, since it is work done during my time in Amsterdam. My current address is: Dr J J Johannes Hjorth Cambridge Computational Biology Institute Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics University of Cambridge Wilberforce Road Cambridge CB3 0WA UK
Topic: Neuroimaging

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