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J Histochem Cytochem. 1983 Jan;31(1):94-100.

Segmentation of cell nuclei in tissue section analysis.


Image segmentation is a critical step in digital picture analysis, especially for that of tissue sections. As the morphology of the cell nuclei provides important biological information, their segmentation is of particular interest. The known segmentation methods are not adequate for segmenting cell nuclei of tissue sections; the reason for this lies in the optical properties of their images. We have developed new gradient methods of segmentation of previously presegmented images by taking these properties into account and by using the approximately circular shape of the cell nuclei as a priori information. In our first technique, the segment method, the images of the nuclei are divided into eight segments, special gradient filters being defined for each segment. This has enabled us to improve the gradient image. After searching for local maxima, the contours of nuclei can be found. In the second method, the method of transformation into the polar coordinate system (PCS), the a priori information serves to define a circular direction field for gradient computation and contour finding. In contrast with the first method, which offers a rapid, general idea about the nuclear shape, the PCS method permits precise segmentation and morphological analysis of the cell nuclei.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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