We have implemented a simple program to solve three of the problems related to 3D reconstruction (3D-Rec) of soft tissues: alignment of sections, distortions, and estimation of the spatial position of elements of interest inside the tissues. As a model, we chose the distribution of FMRFamide-like immunopositive neurons in the ventral ganglion of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite collected during different seasonal periods. Images of immunostained sections were acquired by means of a CCDcamera- equipped microscope and a PC and the reference points were taken inside the sections. The FMRFamide-like immunopositive neurons detected in the barnacle ventral ganglion were grouped into four different classes according to size, shape and staining intensity. More numerous FMRFamide- like immunopositive neurons were detected in the autumn-collected barnacle than in the summer counterpart. The two 3D reconstructions obtained from transverse and longitudinal ventral ganglion sections were efficaciously compared after 90° rotation of one of them. Comparison of these two 3D-Rec suggests the presence of at least two groups of FMRFamide-like immunopositive neurons that are seasonally-related and probably involved in reproduction
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