consists of high-resolution images and databases of
brains from many genetically characterized
strains of mice. There are numerous uses of the
MBL, but our own mission is to systematically map
and characterize genes that modulate architecture
of the mammalian CNS (for a complete description of
our projects refer to our P20 Human Brain Project
Informatics Center for Mouse Neurogenetics). For
example, we want to understand much more about normal
genetic variants (normal alleles, not necessarily
mutations) that generate differences in cell populations
and cell phenotypes in
olfactory bulb, thalamus, and neocortex. For this
reason, MBL databases also include detailed information
on genomes of many strains of mice (see
BXN release 1). The collection now consists of
images from approximately 800 brains and numerical
data from just over 8000 mice.
You can search the
MBL for cases by strain, age, sex, body or brain weight.
Images of the slide collection are available at a
series of resolutions. The base resolution is 24.5 ± 0.5 µm per pixel in the XY plane with a 150 µm interval
between sections (300 µm on each slide, 2 slides per
higher resolution images of single sections—4.5
µm/pixel—have been acquired for over a hundred cases
marked with a blue "hi-res" button. We are
now collecting 1 µm/pixel images for specific parts
of the brain—at present, the neocortex, hippocampus,
and the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. Very high
resolution images (<0.2 µm/pixel) are available
for C57BL/6J using the
iScope, a web-controlled microscope equipped with
DIC optics. The quality of images displayed on your
monitor will depend on your system, monitor settings,
and other software configurations. Macintosh users
of Internet Explorer 5: please note that the right
side of large JPEG images are often cropped. To circumvent
this problem, please use IE4.5 or Netscape Navigator
or "pull" the image off of your broswer
window and then reopen the image in Photoshop. To
achieve best quality you should save these jpeg format
images and open them in
NIH Image for Macintosh,
Scion Image for PC or Macintosh,
Image/J (a free image analysis Java applet based
on NIH Image), or Photoshop. For details on processing,
imaging, and calibration, please read our
Procedures page. If you are interested
in setting up your own online slide database with
FileMaker, look at our
MBL setup tutorial.
The MBL is a collaborative project between
Robert W. Williams (Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics,
University of Tennessee) and
Glenn D. Rosen (Department of Neurology, Beth
Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston). Programming
and interface are by
Alexander G. Williams. The MBL currently runs
on a set of Macintosh G4 computers at the University
Please use an up-to-date browser (version 4.5 or higher),
and assign your program 12 MB or more of memory. If
images appear heavily pixelated or lack grayscale
tone, then your browser is probably low on memory.
Example of a 1-in-10 series of Nissl-stained horizontal sections (30-µm-thick) prepared from a C57BL/6J male mouse (Case 232, slide A, 476-mg brain weight, 292-days-old). The highest or most dorsal section is in the upper left corner; the lowest or most ventral section is in the lower right quadrant. Small dots over the tissue represent sample sites used for high-magnification cell counts and to estimate brain volume after processing. To minimize sample periodicity and to ensure a more represetative set of sample sites, the 2-mm grid has been oriented at an angle of 5 degrees. Four such slides are prepared for every case, and images of two of these four slides are now available on-line for image and data analysis. This particular brain contains 75 million neurons, 23 million glial cells, 7 million endothelial cells, and 3 to 4 million miscellaneous pial, ependymal, and choroid plexus cells (see data analysis in Williams, 2000). This section is currently mounted on the iScope and you can image individual cells in any of the sections.
Use of Images and Citing this Source
Use of images: All individuals and organizations
(for-profit and not-for-profit) may use up to 10 images from
the Mouse Brain Library in single works or publications and
presentation. Please see the paragraph below for citing the
MBL. If you or your colleagues need original uncompressed images
in color we should be able to recapture and send you what you
need in less than 48 hours. We would greatly appreciate an email
telling us what images you are using and how you are using them.
This informations will of significant help to us in securing
continued support for the MBL. Please contact us (email@example.com
and firstname.lastname@example.org) for more extensive or commerical
use of images.
How to cite the MBL in papers: Please cite
either or both of these references:
Rosen GD, Williams AG, Capra JA, Connolly MT, Cruz B, Lu L,
Airey DC, Kulkarni K, Williams RW (2000) The Mouse Brain Library
@ www.mbl.org. Int Mouse Genome Conference 14: 166. www.mbl.org.
Williams RW (2000) Mapping genes that modulate mouse brain development:
a quantitative genetic approach. In: Mouse Brain Development
(Goffinet AF, Rakic P, eds). Springer, New York, pp 21–49.
Rob and Glenn thank the following co-workers for helping us
assemble the MBL since its inception in 1996: David C. Airey,
Tony Capra, Michael T. Connolly, Brian Cruz, Richard Cushing,
Jason Dapper, Dan Goldowitz, Diane B. Hall, Aaron Levine, Lu
Lu, Anna Ohlis, Stefany Palmieri, Johnathan Wang, Alexander
G. Williams, Evan G. Williams, Guomin Zhou, Xiaoyu Zhou, Boris
Diechtiareff, Thomas Fackler, Nathan La Porte, Arthur G. Centeno, Senhua Yu, Chris Vincent, Leslie Lyness,
and Tisha Milburn.
The MBL and iScope projects are supported as part of
the Informatics Center for Mouse Neurogenetics, a Human Brain
Project/Neuroinformatics program funded jointly by the National
Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse,
and the National Science Foundation (P20-MH 62009).
Last update: October 25, 2011.
MBL web service initiated Dec 8, 1996.