Age‐dependent changes in epidermal architecture explored using an automated image analysis algorithm on in vivo reflectance confocal microscopy images - Inria - Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique Access content directly
Journal Articles Skin Research and Technology Year : 2023

Age‐dependent changes in epidermal architecture explored using an automated image analysis algorithm on in vivo reflectance confocal microscopy images

Abstract

Background Reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) allows for real-time in vivo visualization of the epidermis at the cellular level noninvasively. Parameters relating to tissue architecture can be extracted from RCM images, however, analysis of such images requires manual identification of cells to derive these parameters, which can be time-consuming and subject to human error, highlighting the need for an automated cell identification method. Methods First, the region-of-interest (ROI) containing cells needs to be identified, followed by the identification of individual cells within the ROI. To perform this task, we use successive applications of Sato and Gabor filters. The final step is post-processing improvement of cell detection and removal of size outliers. The proposed algorithm is evaluated on manually annotated real data. It is then applied to 5345 images to study the evolution of epidermal architecture in children and adults. The images were acquired on the volar forearm of healthy children (3 months to 10 years) and women (25–80 years), and on the volar forearm and cheek of women (40–80 years). Following the identification of cell locations, parameters such as cell area, cell perimeter, and cell density are calculated, as well as the probability distribution of the number of nearest neighbors per cell. The thicknesses of the Stratum Corneum and supra-papillary epidermis are also calculated using a hybrid deep-learning method. Results Epidermal keratinocytes are significantly larger (area and perimeter) in the granular layer than in the spinous layer and they get progressively larger with a child's age. Skin continues to mature dynamically during adulthood, as keratinocyte size continues to increase with age on both the cheeks and volar forearm, but the topology and cell aspect ratio remain unchanged across different epidermal layers, body sites, and age. Stratum Corneum and supra-papillary epidermis thicknesses increase with age, at a faster rate in children than in adults. Conclusions The proposed methodology can be applied to large datasets to automate image analysis and the calculation of parameters relevant to skin physiology. These data validate the dynamic nature of skin maturation during childhood and skin aging in adulthood.

Dates and versions

hal-04133064 , version 1 (19-06-2023)

Identifiers

Cite

Imane Lboukili, Georgios Stamatas, Xavier Descombes. Age‐dependent changes in epidermal architecture explored using an automated image analysis algorithm on in vivo reflectance confocal microscopy images. Skin Research and Technology, 2023, 29 (5), ⟨10.1111/srt.13343⟩. ⟨hal-04133064⟩
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