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BMC Med Imaging. 2011 May 20;11:11. doi: 10.1186/1471-2342-11-11.

Quantitative metric profiles capture three-dimensional temporospatial architecture to discriminate cellular functional states.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Computational analysis of tissue structure reveals sub-visual differences in tissue functional states by extracting quantitative signature features that establish a diagnostic profile. Incomplete and/or inaccurate profiles contribute to misdiagnosis.

METHODS:

In order to create more complete tissue structure profiles, we adapted our cell-graph method for extracting quantitative features from histopathology images to now capture temporospatial traits of three-dimensional collagen hydrogel cell cultures. Cell-graphs were proposed to characterize the spatial organization between the cells in tissues by exploiting graph theory wherein the nuclei of the cells constitute the nodes and the approximate adjacency of cells are represented with edges. We chose 11 different cell types representing non-tumorigenic, pre-cancerous, and malignant states from multiple tissue origins.

RESULTS:

We built cell-graphs from the cellular hydrogel images and computed a large set of features describing the structural characteristics captured by the graphs over time. Using three-mode tensor analysis, we identified the five most significant features (metrics) that capture the compactness, clustering, and spatial uniformity of the 3D architectural changes for each cell type throughout the time course. Importantly, four of these metrics are also the discriminative features for our histopathology data from our previous studies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Together, these descriptive metrics provide rigorous quantitative representations of image information that other image analysis methods do not. Examining the changes in these five metrics allowed us to easily discriminate between all 11 cell types, whereas differences from visual examination of the images are not as apparent. These results demonstrate that application of the cell-graph technique to 3D image data yields discriminative metrics that have the potential to improve the accuracy of image-based tissue profiles, and thus improve the detection and diagnosis of disease.

PMID:
21599975
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3125246
Free PMC Article
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