Automated Texture Analysis and Determination of Fibre Orientation of Heart Tissue: A Morphometric Study
The human heart has a heterogeneous structure, which is characterized by different cell types and their spatial configurations. The physical structure, especially the fibre orientation and the interstitial fibrosis, determines the electrical excitation and in further consequence the contractility in macroscopic as well as in microscopic areas. Modern image processing methods and parameters could be used to describe the image content and image texture. In most cases the description of the texture is not satisfying because the fibre orientation, detected with common algorithms, is biased by elements such as fibrocytes or endothelial nuclei. The goal of this work is to figure out if cardiac tissue can be analysed and classified on a microscopic level by automated image processing methods with a focus on an accurate detection of the fibre orientation. Quantitative parameters for identification of textures of different complexity or pathological attributes inside the heart were determined. The focus was set on the detection of the fibre orientation, which was calculated on the basis of the cardiomyocytes’ nuclei. It turned out that the orientation of these nuclei corresponded with a high precision to the fibre orientation in the image plane. Additionally, these nuclei also indicated very well the inclination of the fibre.