Algorithms for improved 3-D reconstruction of live mammalian embryo vasculature from optical coherence tomography data

Prathamesh M. Kulkarni, Nicolas Rey-Villamizar, Amine Merouane, Narendran Sudheendran, Shang Wang, Monica Garcia, Irina V. Larina, Badrinath Roysam, Kirill V. Larin


Background: Robust reconstructions of the three-dimensional network of blood vessels in developing embryos imaged by optical coherence tomography (OCT) are needed for quantifying the longitudinal development of vascular networks in live mammalian embryos, in support of developmental cardiovascular research. Past computational methods [such as speckle variance (SV)] have demonstrated the feasibility of vascular reconstruction, but multiple challenges remain including: the presence of vessel structures at multiple spatial scales, thin blood vessels with weak flow, and artifacts resulting from bulk tissue motion (BTM).
Methods: In order to overcome these challenges, this paper introduces a robust and scalable reconstruction algorithm based on a combination of anomaly detection algorithms and a parametric dictionary based sparse representation of blood vessels from structural OCT data.
Results: Validation results using confocal data as the baseline demonstrate that the proposed method enables the detection of vessel segments that are either partially missed or weakly reconstructed using the SV method. Finally, quantitative measurements of vessel reconstruction quality indicate an overall higher quality of vessel reconstruction with the proposed method.
Conclusions: Results suggest that sparsity-integrated speckle anomaly detection (SSAD) is potentially a valuable tool for performing accurate quantification of the progression of vascular development in the mammalian embryonic yolk sac as imaged using OCT.