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In Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)

MOTIVATION : Differentiating 12 stages of mouse seminiferous epithelial cycle is vital towards understanding the dynamic spermatogenesis process. However, it is challenging since two adjacent spermatogenic stages are morphologically similar. Distinguishing Stages I-III from Stages IV-V is important for histologists to understand sperm development in wildtype mice and spermatogenic defects in infertile mice. To achieve this, we propose a novel pipeline for Computerized Spermatogenesis Staging (CSS).

RESULTS : The CSS pipeline comprises four parts: 1) A seminiferous tubule segmentation model is developed to extract every single tubule; 2) A Multi-Scale Learning (MSL) model is developed to integrate local and global information of a seminiferous tubule to distinguish Stages I-V from Stages VI-XII; 3) A Multi-Task Learning (MTL) model is developed to segment the Multiple Testicular Cells (MTCs) for Stages I-V without an exhaustive requirement for manual annotation; 4) A set of 204-dimensional image-derived features is developed to discriminate Stages I-III from Stages IV-V by capturing cell-level and image-level representation. Experimental results suggest that the proposed MSL and MTL models outperform classic single-scale and single-task models when manual annotation is limited. In addition, the proposed image-derived features are discriminative between Stages I-III and Stages IV-V. In conclusion, the CSS pipeline can not only provide histologists with a solution to facilitate quantitative analysis for spermatogenesis stage identification but also help them to uncover novel computerized image-derived biomarkers.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION : Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Lu Haoda, Zang Min, Marini Gabriel Pik Liang, Wang Xiangxue, Jiao Yiping, Ao Nianfei, Ong Kokhaur, Huo Xinmi, Li Longjie, Xu Eugene Yujun, Goh Wilson Wen Bin, Yu Weimiao, Xu Jun