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Automated analysis of whole brain vasculature using machine learning

By Mihail Ivilinov Todorov, Johannes C. Paetzold, Oliver Schoppe, Giles Tetteh, Velizar Efremov, Katalin Voelgyi, Marco Duering, Martin Dichgans, Marie Piraud, Bjoern Menze, Ali Erturk

Posted 18 Apr 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/613257

Tissue clearing methods enable imaging of intact biological specimens without sectioning. However, reliable and scalable analysis of such large imaging data in 3D remains a challenge. Towards this goal, we developed a deep learning-based framework to quantify and analyze the brain vasculature, named Vessel Segmentation & Analysis Pipeline (VesSAP). Our pipeline uses a fully convolutional network with a transfer learning approach for segmentation. We systematically analyzed vascular features of the whole brains including their length, bifurcation points and radius at the micrometer scale by registering them to the Allen mouse brain atlas. We reported the first evidence of secondary intracranial collateral vascularization in CD1-Elite mice and found reduced vascularization in the brainstem as compared to the cerebrum. VesSAP thus enables unbiased and scalable quantifications for the angioarchitecture of the cleared intact mouse brain and yields new biological insights related to the vascular brain function.

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