Automated fluorescence image cytometry: DNA quantification and detection of chlamydial infections

S. J. Lockett, M. O'Rand, C. A. Rinehart, D. G. Kaufman, B. Herman, K. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Digitized fluorescence microscopy in conjunction with automated image segmentation is a promising approach for screening clinical specimens quickly and reliably. This paper describes the hardware and software of a prototype image-based cytometer that can identify fluorescent objects, discriminate true objects from artifacts and divide overlapping pairs of objects. The use of this image cytometer is discussed for: (1) the measurement of the DNA ploidy distribution of isolated mature rat liver nuclei labeled with 4',6-diamidine-2-phenylindole; (2) the comparison of the DNA ploidy distributions of the same samples measured by image cytometry (ICM) and flow cytometry (FCM); and (3) the quantification of chlamydial infection by double labeling cells with antichlamydiae antibody and Hoechst 33258 for nuclear DNA analysis. Ploidy distributions measured by the automated image cytometer compared favorably to those obtained by FCM. All pairs of overlapping nuclei were automatically detected by an additional computer algorithm, and those pairs that were clearly more than one nucleus by visual inspection were correctly divided. The irregular morphology of the chlamydiae-infected cells meant that 26% of them were not correctly identified in the fluorescein-stained images (as judged by manual inspection), but all cells were nevertheless detected correctly from the images of the Hoechst-stained samples. Automated fluorescence ICM yielded results similar to those obtained with FCM and had the additional benefit of maintaining cell and tissue architecture while preserving the opportunity for subsequent manual inspection of the specimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-44
Number of pages18
JournalAnalytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


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