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Automatic Detection, Segmentation and Classification of Retinal Horizontal Neurons in Large-scale 3D Confocal Imagery...

by Mahmut Karakaya, Ryan A Kerekes, Shaun S Gleason, Rodrigo Martins, Michael Dyer
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Publication Date
Conference Name
SPIE Medical Imaging 2011
Conference Location
Orlando, Florida, United States of America
Conference Date

Automatic analysis of neuronal structure from wide-field-of-view 3D image stacks of retinal neurons is essential for statistically characterizing neuronal abnormalities that may be causally related to neural malfunctions or may be early indicators for a variety of neuropathies. In this paper, we study classification of neuron fields in large-scale 3D confocal image stacks, a challenging neurobiological problem because of the low spatial resolution imagery and presence of intertwined dendrites from different neurons. We present a fully automated, four-step processing approach for neuron classification with respect to the morphological structure of their dendrites. In our approach, we first localize each individual soma in the image by using morphological operators and active contours. By using each soma position as a seed point, we automatically determine an appropriate threshold to segment dendrites of each neuron. We then use skeletonization and network analysis to generate the morphological structures of segmented dendrites, and shape-based features are extracted from network representations of each neuron to characterize the neuron. Based on qualitative results and quantitative comparisons, we show that we are able to automatically compute relevant features that clearly distinguish between normal and abnormal cases for postnatal day 6 (P6) horizontal neurons.