Deep Learning Segmentation of Optical Microscopy Images Improves 3-D Neuron Reconstruction
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Digital reconstruction, or tracing, of 3-D neuron structure from microscopy images is a critical step toward reversing engineering the wiring and anatomy of a brain. Despite a number of prior attempts, this task remains very challenging, especially when images are contaminated by noises or have discontinued segments of neurite patterns. An approach for addressing such problems is to identify the locations of neuronal voxels using image segmentation methods, prior to applying tracing or reconstruction techniques. This preprocessing step is expected to remove noises in the data, thereby leading to improved reconstruction results. In this paper, we proposed to use 3-D convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for segmenting the neuronal microscopy images. Specifically, we designed a novel CNN architecture, that takes volumetric images as the inputs and their voxel-wise segmentation maps as the outputs. The developed architecture allows us to train and predict using large microscopy images in an end-to-end manner. We evaluated the performance of our model on a variety of challenging 3-D microscopy images from different organisms. Results showed that the proposed methods improved the tracing performance significantly when combined with different reconstruction algorithms.
author list (cited authors)
Li, R., Zeng, T., Peng, H., & Ji, S.