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Microvasc Res. 2005 Nov;70(3):165-78. Epub 2005 Oct 18.

A 2-D/3-D model-based method to quantify the complexity of microvasculature imaged by in vivo multiphoton microscopy.

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  • 1Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA.


This paper presents model-based information-theoretic methods to quantify the complexity of tumor microvasculature, taking into account shape, textural, and structural irregularities. The proposed techniques are completely automated, and are applicable to optical slices (3-D) or projection images (2-D). Improvements upon the prior literature include: (i) measuring local (vessel segment) as well as global (entire image) vascular complexity without requiring explicit segmentation or tracing; (ii) focusing on the vessel boundaries in the complexity estimate; and (iii) added robustness to image artifacts common to tumor microvasculature images. Vessels are modeled using a family of super-Gaussian functions that are based on the superquadric modeling primitive common in computer vision. The superquadric generalizes a simple ellipsoid by including shape parameters that allow it to approximate a cylinder with elliptical cross-sections (generalized cylinder). The super-Gaussian is obtained by composing a superquadric with an exponential function giving a form that is similar to a standard Gaussian function but with the ability to produce level sets that approximate generalized cylinders. Importantly, the super-Gaussian is continuous and differentiable so it can be fit to image data using robust non-linear regression. This fitting enables quantification of the intrinsic complexity of vessel data vis-a-vis the super-Gaussian model within a minimum message length (MML) framework. The resulting measures are expressed in units of information (bits). Synthetic and real-data examples are provided to illustrate the proposed measures.

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