Two-dimensional single-slice abdominal computed tomography (CT) provides a detailed tissue map with high resolution allowing quantitative characterization of relationships between health conditions and aging. However, longitudinal analysis of body composition changes using these scans is difficult due to positional variation between slices acquired in different years, which leading to different organs/tissues captured. To address this issue, we propose C-SliceGen, which takes an arbitrary axial slice in the abdominal region as a condition and generates a pre-defined vertebral level slice by estimating structural changes in the latent space. Our experiments on 2608 volumetric CT data from two in-house datasets and 50 subjects from the 2015 Multi-Atlas Abdomen Labeling Challenge dataset (BTCV) Challenge demonstrate that our model can generate high-quality images that are realistic and similar. We further evaluate our method's capability to harmonize longitudinal positional variation on 1033 subjects from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) dataset, which contains longitudinal single abdominal slices, and confirmed that our method can harmonize the slice positional variance in terms of visceral fat area. This approach provides a promising direction for mapping slices from different vertebral levels to a target slice and reducing positional variance for single-slice longitudinal analysis. The source code is available at: https://github.com/MASILab/C-SliceGen.
Whole brain segmentation with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enables the non-invasive measurement of brain regions, including total intracranial volume (TICV) and posterior fossa volume (PFV). Enhancing the existing whole brain segmentation methodology to incorporate intracranial measurements offers a heightened level of comprehensiveness in the analysis of brain structures. Despite its potential, the task of generalizing deep learning techniques for intracranial measurements faces data availability constraints due to limited manually annotated atlases encompassing whole brain and TICV/PFV labels. In this paper, we enhancing the hierarchical transformer UNesT for whole brain segmentation to achieve segmenting whole brain with 133 classes and TICV/PFV simultaneously. To address the problem of data scarcity, the model is first pretrained on 4859 T1-weighted (T1w) 3D volumes sourced from 8 different sites. These volumes are processed through a multi-atlas segmentation pipeline for label generation, while TICV/PFV labels are unavailable. Subsequently, the model is finetuned with 45 T1w 3D volumes from Open Access Series Imaging Studies (OASIS) where both 133 whole brain classes and TICV/PFV labels are available. We evaluate our method with Dice similarity coefficients(DSC). We show that our model is able to conduct precise TICV/PFV estimation while maintaining the 132 brain regions performance at a comparable level. Code and trained model are available at: https://github.com/MASILab/UNesT/wholebrainSeg.
The segmentation of kidney layer structures, including cortex, outer stripe, inner stripe, and inner medulla within human kidney whole slide images (WSI) plays an essential role in automated image analysis in renal pathology. However, the current manual segmentation process proves labor-intensive and infeasible for handling the extensive digital pathology images encountered at a large scale. In response, the realm of digital renal pathology has seen the emergence of deep learning-based methodologies. However, very few, if any, deep learning based approaches have been applied to kidney layer structure segmentation. Addressing this gap, this paper assesses the feasibility of performing deep learning based approaches on kidney layer structure segmetnation. This study employs the representative convolutional neural network (CNN) and Transformer segmentation approaches, including Swin-Unet, Medical-Transformer, TransUNet, U-Net, PSPNet, and DeepLabv3+. We quantitatively evaluated six prevalent deep learning models on renal cortex layer segmentation using mice kidney WSIs. The empirical results stemming from our approach exhibit compelling advancements, as evidenced by a decent Mean Intersection over Union (mIoU) index. The results demonstrate that Transformer models generally outperform CNN-based models. By enabling a quantitative evaluation of renal cortical structures, deep learning approaches are promising to empower these medical professionals to make more informed kidney layer segmentation.
When dealing with giga-pixel digital pathology in whole-slide imaging, a notable proportion of data records holds relevance during each analysis operation. For instance, when deploying an image analysis algorithm on whole-slide images (WSI), the computational bottleneck often lies in the input-output (I/O) system. This is particularly notable as patch-level processing introduces a considerable I/O load onto the computer system. However, this data management process could be further paralleled, given the typical independence of patch-level image processes across different patches. This paper details our endeavors in tackling this data access challenge by implementing the Adaptable IO System version 2 (ADIOS2). Our focus has been constructing and releasing a digital pathology-centric pipeline using ADIOS2, which facilitates streamlined data management across WSIs. Additionally, we've developed strategies aimed at curtailing data retrieval times. The performance evaluation encompasses two key scenarios: (1) a pure CPU-based image analysis scenario ("CPU scenario"), and (2) a GPU-based deep learning framework scenario ("GPU scenario"). Our findings reveal noteworthy outcomes. Under the CPU scenario, ADIOS2 showcases an impressive two-fold speed-up compared to the brute-force approach. In the GPU scenario, its performance stands on par with the cutting-edge GPU I/O acceleration framework, NVIDIA Magnum IO GPU Direct Storage (GDS). From what we know, this appears to be among the initial instances, if any, of utilizing ADIOS2 within the field of digital pathology. The source code has been made publicly available at https://github.com/hrlblab/adios.
Crohn's disease (CD) is a chronic and relapsing inflammatory condition that affects segments of the gastrointestinal tract. CD activity is determined by histological findings, particularly the density of neutrophils observed on Hematoxylin and Eosin stains (H&E) imaging. However, understanding the broader morphometry and local cell arrangement beyond cell counting and tissue morphology remains challenging. To address this, we characterize six distinct cell types from H&E images and develop a novel approach for the local spatial signature of each cell. Specifically, we create a 10-cell neighborhood matrix, representing neighboring cell arrangements for each individual cell. Utilizing t-SNE for non-linear spatial projection in scatter-plot and Kernel Density Estimation contour-plot formats, our study examines patterns of differences in the cellular environment associated with the odds ratio of spatial patterns between active CD and control groups. This analysis is based on data collected at the two research institutes. The findings reveal heterogeneous nearest-neighbor patterns, signifying distinct tendencies of cell clustering, with a particular focus on the rectum region. These variations underscore the impact of data heterogeneity on cell spatial arrangements in CD patients. Moreover, the spatial distribution disparities between the two research sites highlight the significance of collaborative efforts among healthcare organizations. All research analysis pipeline tools are available at https://github.com/MASILab/cellNN.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic and relapsing disease characterized by esophageal inflammation. Symptoms of EoE include difficulty swallowing, food impaction, and chest pain which significantly impact the quality of life, resulting in nutritional impairments, social limitations, and psychological distress. The diagnosis of EoE is typically performed with a threshold (15 to 20) of eosinophils (Eos) per high-power field (HPF). Since the current counting process of Eos is a resource-intensive process for human pathologists, automatic methods are desired. Circle representation has been shown as a more precise, yet less complicated, representation for automatic instance cell segmentation such as CircleSnake approach. However, the CircleSnake was designed as a single-label model, which is not able to deal with multi-label scenarios. In this paper, we propose the multi-label CircleSnake model for instance segmentation on Eos. It extends the original CircleSnake model from a single-label design to a multi-label model, allowing segmentation of multiple object types. Experimental results illustrate the CircleSnake model's superiority over the traditional Mask R-CNN model and DeepSnake model in terms of average precision (AP) in identifying and segmenting eosinophils, thereby enabling enhanced characterization of EoE. This automated approach holds promise for streamlining the assessment process and improving diagnostic accuracy in EoE analysis. The source code has been made publicly available at https://github.com/yilinliu610730/EoE.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic, immune/antigen-mediated esophageal disease, characterized by symptoms related to esophageal dysfunction and histological evidence of eosinophil-dominant inflammation. Owing to the intricate microscopic representation of EoE in imaging, current methodologies which depend on manual identification are not only labor-intensive but also prone to inaccuracies. In this study, we develop an open-source toolkit, named Open-EoE, to perform end-to-end whole slide image (WSI) level eosinophil (Eos) detection using one line of command via Docker. Specifically, the toolkit supports three state-of-the-art deep learning-based object detection models. Furthermore, Open-EoE further optimizes the performance by implementing an ensemble learning strategy, and enhancing the precision and reliability of our results. The experimental results demonstrated that the Open-EoE toolkit can efficiently detect Eos on a testing set with 289 WSIs. At the widely accepted threshold of >= 15 Eos per high power field (HPF) for diagnosing EoE, the Open-EoE achieved an accuracy of 91%, showing decent consistency with pathologist evaluations. This suggests a promising avenue for integrating machine learning methodologies into the diagnostic process for EoE. The docker and source code has been made publicly available at https://github.com/hrlblab/Open-EoE.
Podocytes, specialized epithelial cells that envelop the glomerular capillaries, play a pivotal role in maintaining renal health. The current description and quantification of features on pathology slides are limited, prompting the need for innovative solutions to comprehensively assess diverse phenotypic attributes within Whole Slide Images (WSIs). In particular, understanding the morphological characteristics of podocytes, terminally differentiated glomerular epithelial cells, is crucial for studying glomerular injury. This paper introduces the Spatial Pathomics Toolkit (SPT) and applies it to podocyte pathomics. The SPT consists of three main components: (1) instance object segmentation, enabling precise identification of podocyte nuclei; (2) pathomics feature generation, extracting a comprehensive array of quantitative features from the identified nuclei; and (3) robust statistical analyses, facilitating a comprehensive exploration of spatial relationships between morphological and spatial transcriptomics features.The SPT successfully extracted and analyzed morphological and textural features from podocyte nuclei, revealing a multitude of podocyte morphomic features through statistical analysis. Additionally, we demonstrated the SPT's ability to unravel spatial information inherent to podocyte distribution, shedding light on spatial patterns associated with glomerular injury. By disseminating the SPT, our goal is to provide the research community with a powerful and user-friendly resource that advances cellular spatial pathomics in renal pathology. The implementation and its complete source code of the toolkit are made openly accessible at https://github.com/hrlblab/spatial_pathomics.
Precise identification of multiple cell classes in high-resolution Giga-pixel whole slide imaging (WSI) is critical for various clinical scenarios. Building an AI model for this purpose typically requires pixel-level annotations, which are often unscalable and must be done by skilled domain experts (e.g., pathologists). However, these annotations can be prone to errors, especially when distinguishing between intricate cell types (e.g., podocytes and mesangial cells) using only visual inspection. Interestingly, a recent study showed that lay annotators, when using extra immunofluorescence (IF) images for reference (referred to as molecular-empowered learning), can sometimes outperform domain experts in labeling. Despite this, the resource-intensive task of manual delineation remains a necessity during the annotation process. In this paper, we explore the potential of bypassing pixel-level delineation by employing the recent segment anything model (SAM) on weak box annotation in a zero-shot learning approach. Specifically, we harness SAM's ability to produce pixel-level annotations from box annotations and utilize these SAM-generated labels to train a segmentation model. Our findings show that the proposed SAM-assisted molecular-empowered learning (SAM-L) can diminish the labeling efforts for lay annotators by only requiring weak box annotations. This is achieved without compromising annotation accuracy or the performance of the deep learning-based segmentation. This research represents a significant advancement in democratizing the annotation process for training pathological image segmentation, relying solely on non-expert annotators.