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6 April 2007 Computer-based analysis of microvascular alterations in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease
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Vascular factors associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have recently gained increased attention. To investigate changes in vascular, particularly microvascular architecture, we developed a hierarchical imaging framework to obtain large-volume, high-resolution 3D images from brains of transgenic mice modeling AD. In this paper, we present imaging and data analysis methods which allow compiling unique characteristics from several hundred gigabytes of image data. Image acquisition is based on desktop micro-computed tomography (µCT) and local synchrotron-radiation µCT (SRµCT) scanning with a nominal voxel size of 16 µm and 1.4 µm, respectively. Two visualization approaches were implemented: stacks of Z-buffer projections for fast data browsing, and progressive-mesh based surface rendering for detailed 3D visualization of the large datasets. In a first step, image data was assessed visually via a Java client connected to a central database. Identified characteristics of interest were subsequently quantified using global morphometry software. To obtain even deeper insight into microvascular alterations, tree analysis software was developed providing local morphometric parameters such as number of vessel segments or vessel tortuosity. In the context of ever increasing image resolution and large datasets, computer-aided analysis has proven both powerful and indispensable. The hierarchical approach maintains the context of local phenomena, while proper visualization and morphometry provide the basis for detailed analysis of the pathology related to structure. Beyond analysis of microvascular changes in AD this framework will have significant impact considering that vascular changes are involved in other neurodegenerative diseases as well as in cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and arthritis.
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Stefan Heinzer, Ralph Müller, Marco Stampanoni, Rafael Abela, Eric P. Meyer, Alexandra Ulmann-Schuler, and Thomas Krucker "Computer-based analysis of microvascular alterations in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease", Proc. SPIE 6511, Medical Imaging 2007: Physiology, Function, and Structure from Medical Images, 651104 (6 April 2007);

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