The molecular machinery underlying action potential-evoked, synchronous neurotransmitter release, has been intensely studied. It was presumed that two other forms of exocytosis- delayed (asynchronous) and spontaneous transmission, were mediated by the same voltage-activated Ca2+ channels (VACCs), intracellular Ca2+ sensors and vesicle pools. However, a recent explosion in the study of spontaneous and asynchronous release has shown these presumptions to be incorrect. Furthermore, the finding that different forms of synaptic transmission may mediate distinct physiological functions emphasizes the importance of identifying the mechanisms by which Ca2+ regulates spontaneous and asynchronous release. In this article we will briefly summarize new and published data on the role of Ca2+ in regulating spontaneous and asynchronous release at a number of different synapses. We will discuss how an increase of extracellular [Ca2+] increases spontaneous and asynchronous release, show that VACCs are involved at only some synapses, and identify regulatory roles for other ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors. In particular, we will focus on two novel pathways that play important roles in the regulation of non-synchronous release at two exemplary synapses: one modulated by the Ca2+-sensing receptor and the other by transient receptor potential cation channel sub-family V member 1.
Voltage-activated Ca2+ channels (VACCs) mediate Ca2+ influx to trigger action potential-evoked neurotransmitter release but the mechanism by which Ca2+ regulates spontaneous transmission is unclear. Here we show VACCs are the major physiological triggers for spontaneous release at murine neocortical inhibitory synapses. Moreover, despite the absence of a synchronizing action potential, we find that spontaneous fusion of a GABA-containing vesicle requires the activation of multiple tightly-coupled VACCs of variable type.
Elevated internalized stigma is common and is linked to subjective and objective outcomes for severe mental illness. The authors developed a manualized group-based intervention (Narrative Enhancement/Cognitive Therapy; NECT) to address internalized stigma in severe mental illness. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of NECT. 144 individuals were screened at two sites to evaluate if they met criteria for “elevated” internalized stigma; 39 and were eligible were randomized to NECT or to treatment as usual (TAU) and were assessed at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Fifteen of the 21 individuals assigned to NECT were classified as “exposed” to treatment. Intent-to-treat analyses found no significant difference between the NECT and TAU groups. A comparison of exposed vs. unexposed participants noted trends for exposed participants to have improved more in two aspects of self-stigma as well as insight. We conclude that NECT is feasible and tolerable, but findings did not support the hypothesis that NECT was more effective than TAU, although small sample size and significant dropout may have restricted the ability to detect an effect.
Self-stigma; severe mental illness; narrative
An increasingly large number of neuroimaging studies have investigated functionally connected networks during rest, providing insight into human brain architecture. Assessment of the functional qualities of resting state networks has been limited by the task-independent state, which results in an inability to relate these networks to specific mental functions. However, it was recently demonstrated that similar brain networks can be extracted from resting state data and data extracted from thousands of task-based neuroimaging experiments archived in the BrainMap database. Here, we present a full functional explication of these intrinsic connectivity networks at a standard low order decomposition using a neuroinformatics approach based on the BrainMap behavioral taxonomy as well as a stratified, data-driven ordering of cognitive processes. Our results serve as a resource for functional interpretations of brain networks in resting state studies and future investigations into mental operations and the tasks that drive them.
Psychophysiological interactions (PPIs) analysis is a method for investigating task-specific changes in the relationship between activity in different brain areas, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Specifically, PPI analyses identify voxels in which activity is more related to activity in a seed region of interest (seed ROI) in a given psychological context, such as during attention or in the presence of emotive stimuli. In this tutorial, we aim to give a simple conceptual explanation of how PPI analysis works, in order to assist readers in planning and interpreting their own PPI experiments.
psychophysiological interactions; PPI; functional connectivity; resting state
Several modes of synaptic vesicle release, retrieval and recycling have been identified. In a well-established mode of exocytosis, termed ‘full-collapse fusion’, vesicles empty their neurotransmitter content fully into the synaptic cleft by flattening out and becoming part of the presynaptic membrane. The fused vesicle membrane is then reinternalized via a slow and clathrin-dependent mode of compensatory endocytosis that takes several seconds. A more fleeting mode of vesicle fusion, termed ‘kiss-and-run’ exocytosis or ‘flicker-fusion’, indicates that during synaptic transmission some vesicles are only briefly connected to the presynaptic membrane by a transient fusion pore. Finally, a mode that retrieves a large amount of membrane, equivalent to that of several fused vesicles, termed ‘bulk endocytosis’, has been found after prolonged exocytosis. We are of the opinion that both fast and slow modes of endocytosis co-exist at central nervous system nerve terminals and that one mode can predominate depending on stimulus strength, temperature and synaptic maturation.
Spontaneous release of glutamate is important for maintaining synaptic strength and controlling spike timing in the brain. Mechanisms regulating spontaneous exocytosis remain poorly understood. Extracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]o) regulates Ca2+ entry through voltage-activated calcium channels (VACCs) and consequently is a pivotal determinant of action potential-evoked vesicle fusion. Extracellular Ca2+ also enhances spontaneous release, but via unknown mechanisms. Here we report that external Ca2+ triggers spontaneous glutamate release more weakly than evoked release in mouse neocortical neurons. Blockade of VACCs has no effect on the spontaneous release rate or its dependence on [Ca2+]o. Intracellular [Ca2+] slowly increases in a minority of neurons following increases in [Ca2+]o. Furthermore, the enhancement of spontaneous release by extracellular calcium is insensitive to chelation of intracellular calcium by BAPTA. Activation of the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR), a G-protein coupled receptor present in nerve terminals, by several specific agonists increased spontaneous glutamate release. The frequency of spontaneous synaptic transmission was decreased in CaSR mutant neurons. The concentration effect relationship for extracellular calcium regulation of spontaneous release was well described by a combination of CaSR-dependent and CaSR-independent mechanisms. Overall these results indicate that extracellular Ca2+ does not trigger spontaneous glutamate release by simply increasing calcium influx but stimulates CaSR and thereby promotes resting spontaneous glutamate release.
Independent component analysis (ICA) has become a widely used method for extracting functional networks in the brain during rest and task. Historically, preferred ICA dimensionality has widely varied within the neuroimaging community, but typically varies between 20 and 100 components. This can be problematic when comparing results across multiple studies because of the impact ICA dimensionality has on the topology of its resultant components. Recent studies have demonstrated that ICA can be applied to peak activation coordinates archived in a large neuroimaging database (i.e., BrainMap Database) to yield whole-brain task-based co-activation networks. A strength of applying ICA to BrainMap data is that the vast amount of metadata in BrainMap can be used to quantitatively assess tasks and cognitive processes contributing to each component. In this study, we investigated the effect of model order on the distribution of functional properties across networks as a method for identifying the most informative decompositions of BrainMap-based ICA components. Our findings suggest dimensionality of 20 for low model order ICA to examine large-scale brain networks, and dimensionality of 70 to provide insight into how large-scale networks fractionate into sub-networks. We also provide a functional and organizational assessment of visual, motor, emotion, and interoceptive task co-activation networks as they fractionate from low to high model-orders.
meta-analysis; co-activations; BrainMap; intrinsic connectivity networks; functional brain networks; functional connectivity; resting state networks; independent component analysis
Administration of aminoglycoside antibiotics can precipitate sudden, profound bouts of weakness that have been attributed to block of presynaptic voltage-activated calcium channels (VACC) and failure of neuromuscular transmission. This serious adverse drug reaction is more likely in neuromuscular diseases such as myasthenia gravis. The relatively low affinity of VACC for aminoglycosides prompted us to explore alternative mechanisms. We hypothesized that the presynaptic Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaSR) may contribute to aminoglycoside-induced weakness due to its role in modulating synaptic transmission and its sensitivity to aminoglycosides in heterologous expression systems. We have previously shown that presynaptic CaSR controls a non-specific cation channel (NSCC) that regulates nerve terminal excitability and transmitter release. Using direct, electrophysiological recording, we report that neuronal VACCs are inhibited by neomycin (IC50 830 ± 110 μM) at a much lower affinity than CaSR-modulated NSCC currents recorded from acutely isolated presynaptic terminals (synaptosomes; IC50 20 ± 1 μM). Thus, at clinically relevant concentrations, aminoglycoside-induced weakness is likely precipitated by enhanced CaSR activation and subsequent decrease in terminal excitability rather than through direct inhibition of VACCs themselves.
At excitatory synapses, decreases in cleft [Ca] arising from activity-dependent transmembrane Ca flux reduce the probability of subsequent transmitter release. Intense neural activity, induced by physiological and pathological stimuli, disturb the external microenvironment reducing extracellular [Ca] ([Ca]o) and thus may impair neurotransmission. Increases in [Ca]o activate the extracellular calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) which in turn inhibits non-selective cation channels (NSCC) at the majority of cortical nerve terminals. This pathway may modulate synaptic transmission by attenuating the impact of decreases in [Ca]o on synaptic transmission. Using patch-clamp recording from isolated cortical terminals, cortical neuronal pairs and isolated neuronal soma we examined the modulation of synaptic transmission by CaSR. Excitatory postsynaptic currents were increased on average by 88% in reduced affinity CaSR-mutant (CaSR−/−) neurons compared to wild-type. Variance-mean analysis indicates that the enhanced synaptic transmission was due largely to an increase in average probability of release (0.27 vs 0.46 for wild-type vs CaSR−/− pairs) with little change in quantal size (23 ± 4 pA vs 22 ± 4 pA) or number of release sites (11 vs 13). In addition, the CaSR agonist spermidine reduced synaptic transmission and increased paired-pulse depression at physiological [Ca]o. Spermidine did not affect quantal size, consistent with a presynaptic mechanism of action, nor did it affect voltage-activated Ca channel currents. In summary, reduced CaSR function enhanced synaptic transmission and CaSR stimulation had the opposite effect. Thus CaSR provides a mechanism that may compensate for the fall in release probability that accompanies decreases in [Ca]o .
calcium; GPCR; Depression; Synaptic plasticity; synaptic transmission; Synaptic vesicle release; Synaptosome; Extracellular; Receptor
Automatic segmentation of subcortical structures in human brain MR images is an important but difficult task due to poor and variable intensity contrast. Clear, well-defined intensity features are absent in many places along typical structure boundaries and so extra information is required to achieve successful segmentation. A method is proposed here that uses manually labelled image data to provide anatomical training information. It utilises the principles of the Active Shape and Appearance Models but places them within a Bayesian framework, allowing probabilistic relationships between shape and intensity to be fully exploited. The model is trained for 15 different subcortical structures using 336 manually-labelled T1-weighted MR images. Using the Bayesian approach, conditional probabilities can be calculated easily and efficiently, avoiding technical problems of ill-conditioned covariance matrices, even with weak priors, and eliminating the need for fitting extra empirical scaling parameters, as is required in standard Active Appearance Models. Furthermore, differences in boundary vertex locations provide a direct, purely local measure of geometric change in structure between groups that, unlike voxel-based morphometry, is not dependent on tissue classification methods or arbitrary smoothing. In this paper the fully-automated segmentation method is presented and assessed both quantitatively, using Leave-One-Out testing on the 336 training images, and qualitatively, using an independent clinical dataset involving Alzheimer’s disease. Median Dice overlaps between 0.7 and 0.9 are obtained with this method, which is comparable or better than other automated methods. An implementation of this method, called FIRST, is currently distributed with the freely-available FSL package.
Segmentation; Classification; Bayesian; Subcortical structures; Shape model
The endogenous polyamines spermine, spermidine and putrescine are present at high concentrations inside neurons and can be released into the extracellular space where they have been shown to modulate ion channels. Here, we have examined polyamine modulation of voltage-activated Ca2+ channels (VACCs) and voltage-activated Na+ channels (VANCs) in rat superior cervical ganglion neurons using whole-cell voltage-clamp at physiological divalent concentrations. Polyamines inhibited VACCs in a concentration-dependent manner with IC50s for spermine, spermidine, and putrescine of 4.7 ± 0.7, 11.2 ± 1.4 and 90 ± 36 mM, respectively. Polyamines caused inhibition by shifting the VACC half-activation voltage (V0.5) to depolarized potentials and by reducing total VACC permeability. The shift was described by Gouy-Chapman-Stern theory with a surface charge density of 0.120 ± 0.005 e− nm−2 and a surface potential of −19 mV. Attenuation of spermidine and spermine inhibition of VACC at decreased pH was explained by H+ titration of surface charge. Polyamine-mediated effects also decreased at elevated pH due to the inhibitors having lower valence and being less effective at screening surface charge. Polyamines affected VANC currents indirectly by reducing TTX inhibition of VANCs at high pH. This may reflect surface charge induced decreases in the local TTX concentration or polyamine-TTX interactions. In conclusion, polyamines inhibit neuronal VACCs via complex interactions with extracellular H+ and Ca. Many of the observed effects can be explained by a model incorporating polyamine binding, H+ binding and surface charge screening.
polyamine; spermine; spermidine; putrescine; surface charge screening; surface potential; Gouy-Chapman; voltage-activated calcium channel; VACC; voltage-activated Na+ channels; VANC; superior cervical ganglion; neuron
Particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) is an integral membrane metalloenzyme that oxidizes methane to methanol in methanotrophic bacteria. Previous biochemical and structural studies of pMMO have focused on preparations from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) and Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. A pMMO from a third organism, Methylocystis species strain M, has been isolated and characterized. Both membrane-bound and solubilized Methylocystis sp. strain M pMMO contain ~2 copper ions per 100 kDa protomer and exhibit copper-dependent propylene epoxidation activity. Spectroscopic data indicate that Methylocystis sp. strain M pMMO contains a mixture of CuI and CuII, of which the latter exhibits two distinct type 2 CuII electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) signals. Extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) data are best fit with a mixture of Cu–O/N and Cu–Cu ligand environments with a Cu–Cu interaction at 2.52–2.64 Å. The crystal structure of Methylocystis sp. strain M pMMO was determined to 2.68 Å resolution and is the best quality pMMO structure obtained to date. It provides a revised model for the pmoA and pmoC subunits and has led to an improved model of M. capsulatus (Bath) pMMO. In these new structures, the intramembrane zinc/copper binding site has a different coordination environment from that in previous models.
Particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) is a multisubunit metalloenzyme complex used by methanotrophic bacteria to oxidize methane in the first step of carbon assimilation and energy production. In this chapter, we detail methods to prepare metal free (apo) membrane-bound pMMO and to reconstitute apo pMMO with metal ions. We also describe protocols to clone, express, and refold metal-loaded soluble domain constructs of the pmoB subunit. These approaches were used to address fundamental questions concerning the metal content and location of the pMMO active site.
Most studies on coping among persons with severe mental illness have relied on retrospective self-report methods; a limitation of this methodology is susceptibility to recall bias. The purpose of the present investigation was to expand the current understanding of the impact of coping among persons with severe mental illness by examining coping strategies, mood, and social functioning (operationalized as productive time use) using a daily process design. Twenty-seven adults diagnosed with severe mental illness completed baseline clinical interviews and up to 20 days of nightly telephone interviews addressing coping and daily life. A total of 198 coping efforts were reported for 387 days. Mixed-effects regression analyses examined the association between type of daily coping strategy (problem-centered, neutral, or avoidant) and both daily proportion of time participants spent in productive activity and daily negative mood, controlling for demographic and clinical variables. The results indicated that productive time use was significantly lower on days when avoidant strategies were used, in contrast with days when problem-centered strategies and neutral strategies were used. There was not a significant main effect of coping on negative mood, although there was a trend in the expected direction. Findings support the hypothesis that the types of coping strategies adults with severe mental illness use are related to better social functioning on a daily level.
Coping; severe mental illness; time use; negative mood; social functioning
There is evidence that internalized stigma significantly impacts the lives of people with severe mental illness. Nevertheless, there is little data on the prevalence of clinically significant internalized stigma. This study investigated the current prevalence and demographic correlates of significantly elevated levels of internalized stigma in two samples of people with severe mental illness living in the community.
A total of 144 people (79.9% males, 20.1% females) participated, completing a demographic form and the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale.
Overall, 36% of the sample had elevated internalized stigma scores using a cutoff criterion. Participants in the middle of the age distribution had the highest scores, and there was a site difference. No other demographic variables studied were related to overall internalized stigma.
We conclude that internalized stigma affects a relatively high percentage of people with severe mental illness.
internalized stigma; self-stigma; severe mental illness; prevalence; Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale
Diffusion imaging of post mortem brains has great potential both as a reference for brain specimens that undergo sectioning, and as a link between in vivo diffusion studies and “gold standard” histology/dissection. While there is a relatively mature literature on post mortem diffusion imaging of animals, human brains have proven more challenging due to their incompatibility with high-performance scanners. This study presents a method for post mortem diffusion imaging of whole, human brains using a clinical 3-Tesla scanner with a 3D segmented EPI spin-echo sequence. Results in eleven brains at 0.94 × 0.94 × 0.94 mm resolution are presented, and in a single brain at 0.73 × 0.73 × 0.73 mm resolution. Region-of-interest analysis of diffusion tensor parameters indicate that these properties are altered compared to in vivo (reduced diffusivity and anisotropy), with significant dependence on post mortem interval (time from death to fixation). Despite these alterations, diffusion tractography of several major tracts is successfully demonstrated at both resolutions. We also report novel findings of cortical anisotropy and partial volume effects.
► Acquisition and processing protocols for diffusion MRI of post-mortem human brains. ► Effect of post-mortem and scan intervals on diffusion indices. ► Tractography in post-mortem human brains. ► Radial diffusion anisotropy in cortical gray matter.
Diffusion tensor imaging; Tractography; Post mortem; Human; Brain
Variation in brain structure may reflect variation in functional properties of specific brain systems. Structural variation may therefore reflect variation in behavioural performance. Here, we use diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging to show that variation in white matter integrity in a specific region in the body of the corpus callosum is associated with variation in performance of a bimanual co-ordination task. When the callosal region showing this association is used as a seed for probabilistic tractography, inter-hemispheric pathways are generated to the supplementary motor area and caudal cingulate motor area. This provides further evidence for the role of medial wall motor areas in bimanual co-ordination and supports the idea that variation in brain structure reflects inter-individual differences in skilled performance.
TRPV1 receptors feature prominently in nociception of spinal primary afferents but are also expressed in unmyelinated cranial visceral primary afferents linked to homeostatic regulation. Cranial visceral afferents enter the brain at the solitary tract nucleus (NTS) to control the heart, lungs and other vital organs. Here we identify a novel role for central TRPV1 in the activity-dependent facilitation of glutamatergic transmission from solitary tract (ST) afferents. Fast, synchronous ST-NTS transmission from capsaicin sensitive (TRPV1+) and insensitive (TRPV1−) afferents was similar. However, afferent activation triggered long lasting asynchronous glutamate release only from TRPV1+ synapses. Asynchronous release was proportional to synchronous EPSC amplitude, activity, and calcium entry. TRPV1 antagonists and low temperature blocked asynchronous release but not evoked EPSCs. At physiological afferent frequencies, asynchronous release strongly potentiated the duration of postsynaptic spiking. This activity dependent TPRV1-mediated facilitation is a novel form of synaptic plasticity that brings a unique central integrative feature to the CNS and autonomic regulation.
Echo planar imaging (EPI) is an MRI technique of particular value to neuroscience, with its use for virtually all functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion imaging of fiber connections in the human brain. EPI generates a single 2D image in a fraction of a second; however, it requires 2–3 seconds to acquire multi-slice whole brain coverage for fMRI and even longer for diffusion imaging. Here we report on a large reduction in EPI whole brain scan time at 3 and 7 Tesla, without significantly sacrificing spatial resolution, and while gaining functional sensitivity. The multiplexed-EPI (M-EPI) pulse sequence combines two forms of multiplexing: temporal multiplexing (m) utilizing simultaneous echo refocused (SIR) EPI and spatial multiplexing (n) with multibanded RF pulses (MB) to achieve m×n images in an EPI echo train instead of the normal single image. This resulted in an unprecedented reduction in EPI scan time for whole brain fMRI performed at 3 Tesla, permitting TRs of 400 ms and 800 ms compared to a more conventional 2.5 sec TR, and 2–4 times reductions in scan time for HARDI imaging of neuronal fibertracks. The simultaneous SE refocusing of SIR imaging at 7 Tesla advantageously reduced SAR by using fewer RF refocusing pulses and by shifting fat signal out of the image plane so that fat suppression pulses were not required. In preliminary studies of resting state functional networks identified through independent component analysis, the 6-fold higher sampling rate increased the peak functional sensitivity by 60%. The novel M-EPI pulse sequence resulted in a significantly increased temporal resolution for whole brain fMRI, and as such, this new methodology can be used for studying non-stationarity in networks and generally for expanding and enriching the functional information.
Vast world reserves of methane gas are underutilized as a feedstock for production of liquid fuels and chemicals due to the lack of economical and sustainable strategies for selective oxidation to methanol1. Current processes to activate the strong C–H bond (104 kcal/mol) in methane require high temperatures, are costly and inefficient, and produce waste2. In nature, methanotrophic bacteria perform this reaction under ambient conditions using metalloenzymes called methane monooxygenases (MMOs). MMOs are thus the optimal inspiration for an efficient, green catalyst3. There are two types of MMOs. Soluble MMO (sMMO), which is expressed by several strains of methanotrophs under copper limited conditions, oxidizes methane with a well characterized catalytic diiron center4. Particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), an integral membrane metalloenzyme produced by all methanotrophs, is composed of three subunits, pmoA, pmoB, and pmoC, arranged in a trimeric α3β3γ3 complex5. Despite 20 years of research and the availability of two crystal structures, the metal composition and location of the pMMO metal active site are not known. Here we show that pMMO activity is dependent on copper, not iron, and that the copper active site is located in the soluble domains of the pmoB subunit rather than within the membrane. Recombinant soluble fragments of pmoB (spmoB) bind copper and exhibit propylene and methane oxidation activities. Disruption of each copper center in spmoB by mutagenesis indicates that the active site is a dicopper center. These findings resolve the pMMO controversy and provide a promising new approach to developing environmentally friendly C–H oxidation catalysts.
An increased rate of brain atrophy is often observed in older subjects, in particular those who suffer from cognitive decline. Homocysteine is a risk factor for brain atrophy, cognitive impairment and dementia. Plasma concentrations of homocysteine can be lowered by dietary administration of B vitamins.
To determine whether supplementation with B vitamins that lower levels of plasma total homocysteine can slow the rate of brain atrophy in subjects with mild cognitive impairment in a randomised controlled trial (VITACOG, ISRCTN 94410159).
Methods and Findings
Single-center, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of high-dose folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 in 271 individuals (of 646 screened) over 70 y old with mild cognitive impairment. A subset (187) volunteered to have cranial MRI scans at the start and finish of the study. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups of equal size, one treated with folic acid (0.8 mg/d), vitamin B12 (0.5 mg/d) and vitamin B6 (20 mg/d), the other with placebo; treatment was for 24 months. The main outcome measure was the change in the rate of atrophy of the whole brain assessed by serial volumetric MRI scans.
A total of 168 participants (85 in active treatment group; 83 receiving placebo) completed the MRI section of the trial. The mean rate of brain atrophy per year was 0.76% [95% CI, 0.63–0.90] in the active treatment group and 1.08% [0.94–1.22] in the placebo group (P = 0.001). The treatment response was related to baseline homocysteine levels: the rate of atrophy in participants with homocysteine >13 µmol/L was 53% lower in the active treatment group (P = 0.001). A greater rate of atrophy was associated with a lower final cognitive test scores. There was no difference in serious adverse events according to treatment category.
Conclusions and Significance
The accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment can be slowed by treatment with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins. Sixteen percent of those over 70 y old have mild cognitive impairment and half of these develop Alzheimer's disease. Since accelerated brain atrophy is a characteristic of subjects with mild cognitive impairment who convert to Alzheimer's disease, trials are needed to see if the same treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Particle systems have gained importance as a methodology for sampling implicit surfaces and segmented objects to improve mesh generation and shape analysis. We propose that particle systems have a significantly more general role in sampling structure from unsegmented data. We describe a particle system that computes samplings of crease features (i.e. ridges and valleys, as lines or surfaces) that effectively represent many anatomical structures in scanned medical data. Because structure naturally exists at a range of sizes relative to the image resolution, computer vision has developed the theory of scale-space, which considers an n-D image as an (n + 1)-D stack of images at different blurring levels. Our scale-space particles move through continuous four-dimensional scale-space according to spatial constraints imposed by the crease features, a particle-image energy that draws particles towards scales of maximal feature strength, and an inter-particle energy that controls sampling density in space and scale. To make scale-space practical for large three-dimensional data, we present a spline-based interpolation across scale from a small number of pre-computed blurrings at optimally selected scales. The configuration of the particle system is visualized with tensor glyphs that display information about the local Hessian of the image, and the scale of the particle. We use scale-space particles to sample the complex three-dimensional branching structure of airways in lung CT, and the major white matter structures in brain DTI.
Particle Systems; Crease Features; Ridge and Valley Detection; Lung CT; Diffusion Tensor MRI