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In Microscopy (Oxford, England)

Three-dimensional (3D) observation of a biological sample using serial-section electron microscopy is widely used. However, organelle segmentation requires a significant amount of manual time. Therefore, several studies have been conducted to improve their efficiency. One such promising method is 3D deep learning (DL), which is highly accurate. However, the creation of training data for 3D DL still requires manual time and effort. In this study, we developed a highly efficient integrated image segmentation tool that includes stepwise DL with manual correction. The tool has four functions: efficient tracers for annotation, model training/inference for organelle segmentation using a lightweight convolutional neural network, efficient proofreading, and model refinement. We applied this tool to increase the training data step by step (stepwise annotation method) to segment the mitochondria in the cells of the cerebral cortex. We found that the stepwise annotation method reduced the manual operation time by one-third compared with that of the fully manual method, where all the training data were created manually. Moreover, we demonstrated that the F1 score, the metric of segmentation accuracy, was 0.9 by training the 3D DL model with these training data. The stepwise annotation method using this tool and the 3D DL model improved the segmentation efficiency for various organelles.

Konishi Kohki, Nonaka Takao, Takei Shunsuke, Ohta Keisuke, Nishioka Hideo, Suga Mitsuo


deep convolutional neural network, electron microscopy image stack, image segmentation, machine learning, mouse cerebral cortex