3D convolutional neural networks predict cellular metabolic pathway use from fluorescence lifetime decay data. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fluorescence lifetime imaging of the co-enzyme reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) offers a label-free approach for detecting cellular metabolic perturbations. However, the relationships between variations in NADH lifetime and metabolic pathway changes are complex, preventing robust interpretation of NADH lifetime data relative to metabolic phenotypes. Here, a three-dimensional convolutional neural network (3D CNN) trained at the cell level with 3D NAD(P)H lifetime decay images (two spatial dimensions and one time dimension) was developed to identify metabolic pathway usage by cancer cells. NADH fluorescence lifetime images of MCF7 breast cancer cells with three isolated metabolic pathways, glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and glutaminolysis were obtained by a multiphoton fluorescence lifetime microscope and then segmented into individual cells as the input data for the classification models. The 3D CNN models achieved over 90% accuracy in identifying cancer cells reliant on glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, or glutaminolysis. Furthermore, the model trained with human breast cancer cell data successfully predicted the differences in metabolic phenotypes of macrophages from control and POLG-mutated mice. These results suggest that the integration of autofluorescence lifetime imaging with 3D CNNs enables intracellular spatial patterns of NADH intensity and temporal dynamics of the lifetime decay to discriminate multiple metabolic phenotypes. Furthermore, the use of 3D CNNs to identify metabolic phenotypes from NADH fluorescence lifetime decay images eliminates the need for time- and expertise-demanding exponential decay fitting procedures. In summary, metabolic-prediction CNNs will enable live-cell and in vivo metabolic measurements with single-cell resolution, filling a current gap in metabolic measurement technologies.

published proceedings

  • APL Bioeng

altmetric score

  • 3.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Hu, L., De Hoyos, D., Lei, Y., West, A. P., & Walsh, A. J.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Hu, Linghao||De Hoyos, Daniela||Lei, Yuanjiu||West, A Phillip||Walsh, Alex J

publication date

  • March 2024