About HCA-Vision

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: www.hca-vision.com.