MRI- and Histologically Derived Neuroanatomical Atlas of the Ambystoma Mexicanum (Axolotl)


Amphibians are an important vertebrate model system to understand anatomy, genetics and physiology. Importantly, the brain and spinal cord of adult urodels (salamanders) have an incredible regeneration capacity, contrary to anurans (frogs) and the rest of adult vertebrates. Among these amphibians, the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) has gained most attention because of the surge in the understanding of central nervous system (CNS) regeneration and the recent sequencing of its whole genome. However, a complete comprehension of the brain anatomy is not available. In the present study we created a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) atlas of the in vivo neuroanatomy of the juvenile axolotl brain. This is the first MRI atlas for this species and includes three levels: (1) 82 regions of interest (ROIs) and a version with 64 ROIs; (2) a division of the brain according to the embryological origin of the neural tube, and (3) left and right hemispheres. Additionally, we localized the myelin rich regions of the juvenile brain. The atlas, the template that the atlas was derived from, and a masking file, can be found on Zenodo at This MRI brain atlas aims to be an important tool for future research of the axolotl brain and that of other amphibians.

Scientific Reports