A multiparametric assay for quantitative nerve regeneration evaluation
Van Remoortere, M
Van de Wouwer, G
- Publisher: Blackwell Science
assay automation | image analysis | microscopy | nerve regeneration | peripheral-nerve | fibers | rat | morphometry | muscle | growth | injury | tissue | guide | tube
We introduce an assay for the semi-automated quantification of nerve regeneration by image analysis. Digital images of histological sections of regenerated nerves are recorded using an automated inverted microscope and merged into high-resolution mosaic images representing the entire nerve. These are analysed by a dedicated image-processing package that computes nerve-specific features (e.g. nerve area, fibre count, myelinated area) and fibre-specific features (area, perimeter, myelin sheet thickness). The assay's performance and correlation of the automatically computed data with visually obtained data are determined on a set of 140 semithin sections from the distal part of a rat tibial nerve from four different experimental treatment groups (control, sham, sutured, cut) taken at seven different time points after surgery. Results show a high correlation between the manually and automatically derived data, and a high discriminative power towards treatment. Extra value is added by the large feature set. In conclusion, the assay is fast and offers data that currently can be obtained only by a combination of laborious and time-consuming tests.