A Matlab toolbox for morphological analysis and 3D reconstruction of arterial histological sections
The present paper describes a Matlab toolbox for automatic analysis of histological arterial sections, for both morphometric investigations and 3D reconstructions. The aim of this program is to simplify and improve the processing of histological images, which is usually carried out by means of specific or standard image editing software, where measuring is mainly mouse-based, therefore manual and affected by subjective errors. A user-friendly interface has been also developed, to help a non Matlab-expert through the steps of the elaboration.
The main phases in the image processing are: unwarping, registration, identification of the three layers in the arterial thickness, stacking and smoothing of each cross section, definition of surfaces and volumes for 3D reconstruction. The most delicate step is the edge detection for the identification of the layers, that requires the validation of three algorithms, one for each edge.
A medical application is reported that investigates the effects of balloon angioplasty on the biological tissues. Several porcine arteries, healthy or treated with balloon, have been observed for evaluating lumen area and the layers’ thicknesses.
It is worth noting also that Finite Element models of arterial segments can be conveniently developed using 3D reconstruction, carried out with this toolbox, exploiting the high level of morphometric information of histological images.
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