Boston University Atlas

BU Neurooanatomy Atlas




This atlas contains a series of photographs of histological sections of the brain and spinal cord. All sections were cut in a plane transverse to the axis of the brain, but owing to the flexure of the neuraxis between the diencephalon and midbrain, a plane of section which is transverse to the cerebral hemispheres is oblique to the axis of the spinal cord and brainstem. The series of sections comprising the spinal cord (SC) and brainstem (B) is cut in the “transverse” plane, namely at right angles to the long axis of the brain as defined approximately by the direction of the ventricular system from the cerebral aqueduct to the central canal of the spinal cord. The series of sections through the whole brain (C) are cut in a “coronal” plane, namely a plane in the direction of the coronal suture of the skull and parallel to the long axis of the human body.

It is the purpose of this atlas to provide a virtually self-explanatory key to the identification of the most important structures of the central nervous system. Color versions of each of these images (labeled and unlabeled) are located at Blackboard8.

To access these images go to the CourseInformation folder, then the Course Materials folder, then the Neuroanatomy LABORATORY Materials folder.


SC: Transverse sections through the spinal cord from sacral to upper cervical levels. These and the following brainstem sections were stained for myelin sheaths with luxol fast blue and and for cells with cresyl violet (method of Kluver and Barrera).

B: Transverse sections through the brainstem from the spino-medullary junction to the midbrain-thalamus junction.

C: Coronal sections through the whole brain from rostral frontal lobes to caudal occipital lobes. At the caudal sections, oblique sections through the brainstem are also present. These sections were stained for myelin sheaths (dark brown/black) by the method of Loyez.

This atlas is the result of the combined efforts of a number of individuals associated with BUSM, including: Veronica Akle, Ana Amaral, Peter Fried, Jennie Luebke, Arlene Pak, Dan Roe and Doug Rosene.