Three-dimensional Reconstruction of the Drosophila Larval and Adult Brain
- Adult Brain Model

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The adult brain consists of neuropil, fiber tracts and a surrounding cell body layer. The reconstruction only shows neuropil labeled by antibody nc82, and the surrounding cell body layer (shown here in transparent green). The adult neuropil consists of a small subesophageal ganglion (deep purple) and a large supraesophageal ganglion (other colors). They are intimately fused which makes it difficult to find a clear demarcation between them. In other insects, in which the head ganglia are separated, the subesophageal ganglion is the relay station between the supraesophageal ganglion and the ventral cord. In flies part of the traffic bypasses the subesophageal ganglion. The supraesophageal ganglion is structured into characteristic neuropil regions, which can be identified in nearly all insects. The most conspicuous ones are color-coded in the model and described below. The reader is reminded that all references to fibers or fiber tracts in the text are not supported in the model due to the neuropil staining.

The optic lobes are located adjacent to the eyes and each consists of four neuropil regions, lamina (not shown), medulla (red), lobula (orange) and lobula plate (light orange). In this preparation the lamina has been removed together with the eye and head capsule. Each neuropil region consists of an orderly array of ca. 750 columns. These columns, in the lamina called neuro-ommatidia, reflect the retinotopic organization of the optic lobe, i.e. fibers preserve their neighborhood relations throughout the ganglia and each neuro-ommatidium evaluates retinal inputs coming from the same direction. Stacks of fiber strata perpendicular to the columns provide crosstalk between the visual elements. Large field tangential neurons connect the optic lobes of the two hemispheres and sets of projection neurons transmit the preprocessed visual data to the central brain (for a Golgi analysis of optic lobe architecture and further refs. see Fischbach and Dittrich, 1989).

The most prominent structures in the central brain are the antennal lobes (yellow), the mushroom bodies (brown) and the central complex. The antennal lobes (red) consist each of 40 identified glomeruli, (Laissue et al., 1999) which receive the olfactory receptor fibers of the 3rd antennal segment and the maxillary palp. The glomeruli collect fibers of the same chemosensitivity and relay their activity to projection neurons and antennal lobe intrinsic fibers. The latter neurons connect several or all glomeruli providing inhibitory or excitatory crosstalk between them, the former carry the preprocessed primary chemospecificities to the brain (see Stocker et al., 1990 and refs. therein).

The mushroom bodies (brown) are paired structures. The mushroom body neuropil is a tight bundle of about 2500 thin parallel fibers (Kenyon cells). The best known input neurons are projection neurons which connect single glomeruli of the antennal lobe to the lateral horn (pink) and send side branches into the posterior part of the mushroom body, the so-called calyx (for further refs. see special issue on mushroom bodies: Heisenberg, 1998 and accompanying articles).

The central complex lies in the middle of the brain above the esophagus and just in front of the large commissure (pale pink), the main fiber tract linking the two brain hemispheres. It consists of four main regions, 1) the protocerebral bridge (yellow) at the dorso-caudal margin between the two calyces, 2) the fan-shaped body (dark green), an ordered array of columns, strata and shells, 3) the ellipsoid body (green), a perfect ring of neuropil, and 4) the noduli (light green), a small, compact lobe underlying the fan-shaped body. Input reaches the central complex primarily through large-field tangential neurons, the main output projects via columnar neurons to the ventral bodies, which in turn are directly connected via the cervical connective to the ventral ganglion (Golgi architecture: Hanesch et al., 1989; review: Heisenberg, 1994).

Brain structures unlabeled

Small VRML model   (smooth surfaces) (0.8 MB; 10,000 triangles, includes surfaces and images)
Medium VRML model   (smooth surfaces) (2.5 MB; 50,000 triangles, includes surfaces and images)
Large VRML model   (smooth surfaces) (5.1 MB; 100,000 triangles, includes surfaces and images)

Brain structures labeled

Small VRML model   (smooth surfaces) (0.8 MB; 10,000 triangles, includes surfaces and images)
Medium VRML model   (smooth surface) (2.5 MB; 50,000 triangles, includes surfaces and images)
Large VRML model   (smooth surfaces) (5.1 MB; 100,000 triangles, includes surfaces and images)

Quicktime Movie (with cutaway)

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