We developed and analyzed a single cell scale anatomical map of the rat intrinsic cardiac nervous system (ICNS) across 4 male and 3 female hearts. We find the ICNS has a reliable structural organizational plan across individuals that may provide the foundation for further analyses of the ICNS in cardiac function and disease. The distribution of the ICNS was evaluated by 3D visualization and using data-driven clustering. The pattern, distribution and clustering of ICNS neurons across all male and female rat hearts is highly conserved, demonstrating a coherent organizational plan in which distinct clusters of neurons are consistently localized. Female hearts had fewer neurons, lower packing density and slightly reduced distribution, but with the same localization. We registered the anatomical data from each heart to a geometric scaffold, normalizing their 3D coordinates for the standardization of common anatomical planes and providing the path where multiple experimental results and data types can be integrated and compared.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience