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This article is part of the supplement: Eighteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2009

Open Access Open Badges Poster presentation

The tree-edit-distance, a measure for quantifying neuronal morphology

Holger Heumann1 and Gabriel Wittum2*

Author Affiliations

1 SAM, ETH-Zürich, Switzerland

2 G-CSC, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Kettenhofweg 139, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10(Suppl 1):P89  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-S1-P89

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:13 July 2009

© 2009 Heumann and Wittum; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

The shape of neuronal cells strongly resembles botanical trees or roots of plants. To analyze and compare these complex three-dimensional structures it is important to develop suitable methods. We review the so-called tree-edit-distance known from theoretical computer science and use this distance to define dissimilarity measures for neuronal cells. This measure intrinsically respects the tree-shape. It compares only those parts of two dendritic trees that have similar position in the whole tree. Therefore it can be interpreted as a generalization of methods using vector-valued measures. Moreover, we show that our new measure, together with cluster analysis, is a suitable method for analyzing three-dimensional shape of hippocampal and cortical cells.


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