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29 April 2005 Tracking neural stem cells in time-lapse microscopy image sequences
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This paper describes an algorithm for tracking neural stem/progenitor cells in a time-lapse microscopy image sequence. The cells were segmented in a semiautomatic way using dynamic programming. Since the interesting cells were identified by fluorescent staining at the end of the sequence, the tracking was performed backwards. The number of detected cells varied throughout the sequence: cells could appear or disappear at the image boundaries or at cell clusters, some cells split, and the segmentation was not always correct. To solve this asymmetric assignment problem, a modified version of the auction algorithm by Bertsekas was used. The assignment weights were calculated based on distance, correlation and size between possible matching cells. Cell splits are of special interest, therefore tracks without a matching cell were divided into two groups: 1. Merging cells (splitting cells, moving forward in time) and 2. Non-merging cells. These groups were separated based on difference in size of the involved cells, and difference in image intensity of the contour and interior of the possibly merged cell. The tracking algorithm was evaluated using a sequence consisting of 57 images, each image containing approximately 50 cells. The evaluation showed that 99% of the cell-to-cell associations were correct. In most cases, only one association per track was incorrect so in total 55 out of 78 different tracks in the sequence were tracked correctly. Further improvements will be to apply interleaved segmentation and tracking to produce a more reliable segmentation as well as better tracking results.
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Karin Althoff, Johan Degerman, and Tomas Gustavsson "Tracking neural stem cells in time-lapse microscopy image sequences", Proc. SPIE 5747, Medical Imaging 2005: Image Processing, (29 April 2005);

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