Nonlinear PDE based numerical methods for cell tracking in zebrafish embryogenesis

Abstract : The paper presents numerical algorithms leading to an automated cell tracking and reconstruction of the cell lineage tree during the first hours of animal embryogenesis. We present results obtained for large-scale 3D+time two-photon laser scanning microscopy images of early stages of zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo development. Our approach consists of three basic steps – the image filtering, the cell centers detection and the cell trajectories extraction yielding the lineage tree reconstruction. In all three steps we use nonlinear partial differential equations. For the filtering the geodesic mean curvature flow in level set formulation is used, for the cell center detection the motion of level sets by a constant speed regularized by mean curvature flow is used and the solution of the eikonal equation is essential for the cell trajectories extraction. The core of our new tracking method is an original approach to cell trajectories extraction based on finding a continuous centered paths inside the spatio-temporal tree structures representing cell movement and divisions. Such paths are found by using a suitably designed distance function from cell centers detected in all time steps of the 3D+time image sequence and by a backtracking in the steepest descent direction of a potential field based on this distance function. We also present efficient and naturally parallelizable discretizations of the aforementioned nonlinear PDEs and discuss properties and results of our new tracking method on artificial and real 4D data.
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Karol Mikula, Róbert Špir, Michal Smíšek, Emmanuel Faure, Nadine Peyriéras. Nonlinear PDE based numerical methods for cell tracking in zebrafish embryogenesis. APNUM, Elsevier, 2014, pp.17. 〈〉. 〈10.1016/j.apnum.2014.09.002〉. 〈hal-01101025〉



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