The aim of this study is to develop a system that recognizes both the macro- and microscopic configurations of nerve cells and automatically performs the necessary 3-D measurements and functional classification of spines.
The acquisition of 3-D images of cranial nerves has been enabled by the use of a confocal laser scanning microscope, although the highly accurate 3-D measurements of the microscopic structures of cranial nerves and their classification based on their configurations have not yet been accomplished. In this study, in order to obtain highly accurate measurements of the microscopic structures of cranial nerves, existing positions of spines were predicted by the 2-D image processing of tomographic images. Next, based on the positions that were predicted on the 2-D images, the positions and configurations of the spines were determined more accurately by 3-D image processing of the volume data. We report the successful construction of an automatic analysis system that uses a coarse-to-fine technique to analyze the microscopic structures of cranial nerves with high speed and accuracy by combining 2-D and 3-D image analyses.