Simple Tracing DF-Tracing


We have developed a novel approach, named DF-Tracing, to tackle this challenge. This method first extracts the neurite signal (foreground) from a noisy image by using anisotropic filtering and automated thresholding. Then, DF-Tracing executes a coupled distance-field (DF) algorithm on the extracted foreground neurite signal and reconstructs the neuron morphology automatically. Two distance-transform based “force” fields are used: one for “pressure”, which is the distance transform field of foreground pixels (voxels) to the background, and another for “thrust”, which is the distance transform field of the foreground pixels to an automatically determined seed point. The coupling of these two force fields can“push” a “rolling ball” quickly along the skeleton of a neuron, reconstructing the 3D cell morphology.

Simple Tracing - DT-fields



This plugin filters a 3D image stack (or 2D image) to produce a score for how "tube-like" each point in the image is. This is useful as a preprocessing step for tracing neurons or blood vessels, for example. For 3D image stacks, the plugin uses the eigenvalues of the Hessian matrix to calculate this measure of "tubeness", using a metrics mentioned in Sato et al 1997 ¹: if the larger two eigenvalues (λ₂ and λ₃) are both negative then value is √(λ₂λ₃), otherwise the value is 0. For 2D images, if the large eigenvalue is negative, we return its absolute value and otherwise return 0.

This plugin is now bundled as part of Fiji.



ORION: Online Reconstruction and functional Imaging Of Neurons: segmentation and tracing of neurons for reconstruction.

A project to develop tools that explore single neuron function via sophisticated image analysis. ORION software bridges advanced optical imaging and compartmental modeling of neuronal function by rapidly, accurately, and robustly generating, from structural image data, a cylindrical morphology model suitable for simulating neuronal function. The goal of this project is to develop a computational and experimental framework to allow real-time mapping of functional imaging data (e.g., spatio-temporal patterns of dendritic voltages or intracellularions) to neuronal structure, during the very limited duration of an acute experiment.


Neural Circuit Tracer


Neural Circuit Tracer (NCTracer) is open source software for automated and manual tracing of neurites from light microscopy stacks of images. NCTracer has more than one workflow available for neuron tracing. 

"The Neural Circuit Tracer is open source software built using Java (Sun Microsystems) and Matlab (MathWorks, Inc., Natick MA). It is based on the core of ImageJ ( and the graphic user interface has been developed by using Java Swings. The software combines anumber of functionalities of ImageJ with several newly developed functions for automated and manual tracing of neurites. The Neural Circuit Tracer is designed in a way
that will allow the users to add any plug-ins developed for ImageJ. More importantly, functions written in MatLab and converted into Java with Matlab JA toolbox can also be added to the Neural Circuit Tracer." 

Example of output from Neural Circuit Tracer



"we propose a novel automatic 3D neuron reconstruction algorithm, named Rivulet, which is based on the multi-stencils fast-marching and iterative back-tracking. The proposed Rivulet algorithm is capable of tracing discontinuous areas without being interrupted by densely distributed noises." 

This plugin can be used with default parameters or with user-defined parameters.

Example image obtained from Rivulet Wiki website (