Segmenting nuclei in brightfield images with neural networks [article]

Dmytro Fishman, Sten-Oliver Salumaa, Daniel Majoral, Samantha Peel, Jan Wildenhain, Alexander Schreiner, Kaupo Palo, Leopold Parts
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
Identifying nuclei is a standard first step to analysing cells in microscopy images. The traditional approach relies on signal from a DNA stain, or fluorescent transgene expression localised to the nucleus. However, imaging techniques that do not use fluorescence can also carry useful information. Here, we demonstrate that it is possible to accurately segment nuclei directly from brightfield images using deep learning. We confirmed that three convolutional neural network architectures can be
more » ... pted for this task, with U-Net achieving the best overall performance, Mask R-CNN providing an additional benefit of instance segmentation, and DeepCell proving too slow for practical application. We found that accurate segmentation is possible using as few as 16 training images and that models trained on images from similar cell lines can extrapolate well. Acquiring data from multiple focal planes further helps distinguish nuclei in the samples. Overall, our work liberates a fluorescence channel reserved for nuclear staining, thus providing more information from the specimen, and reducing reagents and time required for preparing imaging experiments.
doi:10.1101/764894 fatcat:33nmjg6k4rc6pp5cescwza6nju