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Neuroimage. 2012 Feb 1;59(3):2298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.09.053. Epub 2011 Oct 1.

A prior feature SVM-MRF based method for mouse brain segmentation.

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School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-5906, USA.


We introduce an automated method, called prior feature Support Vector Machine-Markov Random Field (pSVMRF), to segment three-dimensional mouse brain Magnetic Resonance Microscopy (MRM) images. Our earlier work, extended MRF (eMRF) integrated Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Markov Random Field (MRF) approaches, leading to improved segmentation accuracy; however, the computation of eMRF is very expensive, which may limit its performance on segmentation and robustness. In this study pSVMRF reduces training and testing time for SVM, while boosting segmentation performance. Unlike the eMRF approach, where MR intensity information and location priors are linearly combined, pSVMRF combines this information in a nonlinear fashion, and enhances the discriminative ability of the algorithm. We validate the proposed method using MR imaging of unstained and actively stained mouse brain specimens, and compare segmentation accuracy with two existing methods: eMRF and MRF. C57BL/6 mice are used for training and testing, using cross validation. For formalin fixed C57BL/6 specimens, pSVMRF outperforms both eMRF and MRF. The segmentation accuracy for C57BL/6 brains, stained or not, was similar for larger structures like hippocampus and caudate putamen, (~87%), but increased substantially for smaller regions like susbtantia nigra (from 78.36% to 91.55%), and anterior commissure (from ~50% to ~80%). To test segmentation robustness against increased anatomical variability we add two strains, BXD29 and a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Segmentation accuracy for new strains is 80% for hippocampus, and caudate putamen, indicating that pSVMRF is a promising approach for phenotyping mouse models of human brain disorders.

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