Structure Tensor Based Analysis of Cells and Nuclei Organization in Tissues

Wenxing Zhang, Jerome Fehrenbach, Annaick Desmaison, Valerie Lobjois, Bernard Ducommun, Pierre Weiss
2016 IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging  
Motivation: Extracting geometrical information from large 2D or 3D biomedical images is important to better understand fundamental phenomena such as morphogenesis. We address the problem of automatically analyzing spatial organization of cells or nuclei in 2D or 3D images of tissues. This problem is challenging due to the usually low quality of microscopy images as well as their typically large sizes. Results: The structure tensor is a simple and robust descriptor that was developed to analyze
more » ... extures orientation. Contrarily to segmentation methods which rely on an object based modelling of images, the structure tensor views the sample at a macroscopic scale, like a continuum. We propose an original theoretical analysis of this tool and show that it allows quantifying two important features of nuclei in tissues: their privileged orientation as well as the ratio between the length of their main axes. A quantitative evaluation of the method is provided for synthetic and real 2D and 3D images. As an application, we analyze the nuclei orientation and anisotropy on multicellular tumor spheroids cryosections. This analysis reveals that cells are elongated in a privileged direction that is parallel to the boundary of the spheroid. Availability: Source codes are available at
doi:10.1109/tmi.2015.2470093 pmid:26292339 fatcat:wyufrij2ybbdth557lbpqx47o4