In Biomedical optics express
Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) is becoming increasingly popular for neuroscientific study, but it remains challenging to objectively quantify angioarchitectural properties from 3D OCTA images. This is mainly due to projection artifacts or "tails" underneath vessels caused by multiple-scattering, as well as the relatively low signal-to-noise ratio compared to fluorescence-based imaging modalities. Here, we propose a set of deep learning approaches based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to automated enhancement, segmentation and gap-correction of OCTA images, especially of those obtained from the rodent cortex. Additionally, we present a strategy for skeletonizing the segmented OCTA and extracting the underlying vascular graph, which enables the quantitative assessment of various angioarchitectural properties, including individual vessel lengths and tortuosity. These tools, including the trained CNNs, are made publicly available as a user-friendly toolbox for researchers to input their OCTA images and subsequently receive the underlying vascular network graph with the associated angioarchitectural properties.
Stefan Sabina, Lee Jonghwan