Automated neurite tracing and other cell morphological analyses are essential
for drug development and biological research. CSIRO's HCA-Vision has been
developed as a standalone automated image analysis platform that rapidly and
reproducibly quantifies cell features in 2D microscopy images. It can be used
in neurite analysis, cell scoring, co-culture analysis and sub-cellular analysis.
It also supports batch processing with a built-in database to store the batch
processing results, a batch result viewer and an ad hoc query builder for users
to retrieve features of interest. Results from HCA-Vision are more objective,
reliable and reproducible than those from manual or semi-automated approaches.
The Neurite Analysis Module can be used to detects neuron bodies and neurites
and measure biologically relevant information associated with the neuron
morphologies. Using advanced image analysis algorithms, the software returns
the number of neuron bodies with their areas and perimeters, the number of
neurite branch points, the total length of neurites per cell, and the number
of primary, secondary, and tertiary neurites etc. Results are also available
as averages over images. Such information is important to detect gene knockdown
effects in pathway analysis studies to sensitively assess drug effects in
secondary screens or in toxicology studies. User friendly wizards are provided
to guide the users in the step-by-step selection of image analysis parameters.
Batch processing enables analysis of thousands of images in a fully automated way.
It also provides cross referencing showing correspondences among statistical
results, neuron bodies in the original image and the result image. Results are
delivered in the form of labelled result images, a tabular statistical result
display, crystal reports, and histograms showing directly the distribution of
the quantities of interest. The results can also be exported in a wide range of
formats including MS Word, Excel Spreadsheet, and Adobe PDF.
The Cell Scoring module can be employed to count automatically the number of
cells that express two different proteins to a level above a user defined threshold.
The Coculture Analysis module allows users to simultaneously analyse multiple
cell-type populations and to study how they interact. It has been developed in
the context of neurons co-cultured with a supporting layer of astrocytes but most
functionalities are fairly generic. The module uses 3-channel input images where
the channels contain stained nuclei, neurons, and astrocytes respectively. The
Co-culture Module reports on features characterising individual cells as well
as overall "morphology" of each of the cell populations and how they interact.
It reports 16 image wide features and 10 features for each cell. These
include (1) No. of neurons, astrocytes, and other glial cells; (2) Clumping
tendency of neurons, astrcytes, and other glial cells; (3) Co-localization of
neurons and astrocytes; (4) Area of neurons and astrocytes; (5) Neuron webbiness;
and (6) Astrocyte starriness & roundness.
The Subcellular Analysis Module will feature the capability to analyse the
translocation of proteins between virtually any two cell compartments. In the
current version, the following functions are included: Nucleus detection, Cell
detection, Cell scoring, Membrane detection, Co-localisation analysis, Intensity
measurement, Region Of Interests (ROI) etc.
For more information, please visit the HCA-Vision web site: