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FalseColor-Python: a rapid intensity-leveling and digital-staining package for fluorescence-based slide-free digital pathology

By Robert Serafin, Weisi Xie, Adam K. Glaser, Jonathan T.C. Liu

Posted 03 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.03.074955

Slide-free digital pathology techniques, including nondestructive 3D microscopy, are gaining interest as alternatives to traditional slide-based histology. In order to facilitate clinical adoption of these fluorescence-based techniques, software methods have been developed to convert grayscale fluorescence images into color images that mimic the appearance of standard absorptive chromogens such as hematoxylin and eosin (H&E). However, these false-coloring algorithms often require manual and iterative adjustment of parameters, with results that can be inconsistent in the presence of intensity nonuniformities within an image and/or between specimens (intra- and inter-specimen variability). Here, we present an open-source (Python-based) rapid intensity-leveling and digital-staining package that is specifically designed to render two-channel fluorescence images (i.e. a fluorescent analog of H&E) to the traditional H&E color space for 2D and 3D microscopy datasets. However, this method can be easily tailored for other false-coloring needs. Our package offers (1) automated and uniform false coloring in spite of uneven staining within a large thick specimen, (2) consistent color-space representations that are robust to variations in staining and imaging conditions between different specimens, and (3) GPU-accelerated data processing to allow these methods to scale to large datasets. We demonstrate this platform by generating H&E-like images from cleared tissues that are fluorescently imaged in 3D with open-top light-sheet (OTLS) microscopy, and quantitatively characterizing the results in comparison to traditional slide-based H&E histology. ### Competing Interest Statement A.K.G. and J.T.C.L. are co-founders and shareholders of Lightspeed Microscopy Inc.

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