3D polarized light imaging (3D-PLI) is a neuroimaging technique that has recently opened up new avenues to study the complex architecture of nerve fibers in postmortem brains at microscopic scales. In a specific voxel-based analysis, each voxel is assigned a single 3D fiber orientation vector. This leads to comprehensive 3D vector fields. In order to inspect and analyze such high-resolution fiber orientation vector field, also in combination with complementary microscopy measurements, appropriate visualization techniques are essential to overcome several challenges, such as the massive data sizes, the large amount of both unique and redundant information at different scales, or the occlusion issues of inner structures by outer layers. Here, we introduce a comprehensive software tool that is able to visualize all information of a typical 3D-PLI dataset in an adequate and sophisticated manner. This includes the visualization of (i) anatomic structural and fiber architectonic data in one representation, (ii) a large-scale fiber orientation vector field, and (iii) a clustered version of the field. Alignment of a 3D-PLI dataset to an appropriate brain atlas provides expert-based delineation, segmentation, and, ultimately, visualization of selected anatomical structures. By means of these techniques, a detailed analysis of the complex fiber architecture in 3D is feasible.
Part of the book: High-Resolution Neuroimaging