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Characterizing vascular connectivity from microCT images.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology , Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


X-ray microCT (computed tomography) has become a valuable tool in the analysis of vascular architecture in small animals. Because of its high resolution, a detailed assessment of blood vessel physiology and pathology is possible. Vascular measurement from noninvasive imaging is important for the study and quantification of vessel disease and can aid in diagnosis, as well as measure disease progression and response to therapy. The analysis of tracked vessel trajectories enables the derivation of vessel connectivity information, lengths between vessel junctions as well as level of ramification, contributing to a quantitative analysis of vessel architecture. In this paper, we introduce a new vessel tracking methodology based on wave propagation in oriented domains. Vessel orientation and vessel likelihood are estimated based on an eigenanalysis of gray-level Hessian matrices computed at multiple scales. An anisotropic wavefront then propagates through this vector field with a speed modulated by the maximum vesselness response at each location. Putative vessel trajectories can be found by tracing the characteristics of the propagation solution between different points. We present preliminary results from both synthetic and mouse microCT image data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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