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In International journal of molecular sciences ; h5-index 102.0

Plasma lipoproteins are important carriers of cholesterol and have been linked strongly to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Our study aimed to achieve fine-grained measurements of lipoprotein subpopulations such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a), or remnant lipoproteins (RLP) using electron microscopy combined with machine learning tools from microliter samples of human plasma. In the reported method, lipoproteins were absorbed onto electron microscopy (EM) support films from diluted plasma and embedded in thin films of methyl cellulose (MC) containing mixed metal stains, providing intense edge contrast. The results show that LPs have a continuous frequency distribution of sizes, extending from LDL (> 15 nm) to intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL) and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). Furthermore, mixed metal staining produces striking "positive" contrast of specific antibodies attached to lipoproteins providing quantitative data on apolipoprotein(a)-positive Lp(a) or apolipoprotein B (ApoB)-positive particles. To enable automatic particle characterization, we also demonstrated efficient segmentation of lipoprotein particles using deep learning software characterized by a Mask Region-based Convolutional Neural Networks (R-CNN) architecture with transfer learning. In future, EM and machine learning could be combined with microarray deposition and automated imaging for higher throughput quantitation of lipoproteins associated with CVD risk.

Giesecke Yvonne, Soete Samuel, MacKinnon Katarzyna, Tsiaras Thanasis, Ward Madeline, Althobaiti Mohammed, Suveges Tamas, Lucocq James E, McKenna Stephen J, Lucocq John M

2020-Sep-02

apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein(a), cardiovascular disease, electron microscopy, lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, machine learning, nanoparticles