A Robust Co-Localisation Measurement Utilising Z-Stack Image Intensity Similarities for Biological Studies

Yinhai Wang, Craig Ledgerwood, Claire Grills, Denise C. Fitzgerald, Peter W. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
265 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Co-localisation is a widely used measurement in immunohistochemical analysis to determine if fluorescently labelled biological entities, such as cells, proteins or molecules share a same location. However the measurement of co-localisation is challenging due to the complex nature of such fluorescent images, especially when multiple focal planes are captured. The current state-of-art co-localisation measurements of 3-dimensional (3D) image stacks are biased by noise and cross-overs from non-consecutive planes.

Method: In this study, we have developed Co-localisation Intensity Coefficients (CICs) and Co-localisation Binary Coefficients (CBCs), which uses rich z-stack data from neighbouring focal planes to identify similarities between image intensities of two and potentially more fluorescently-labelled biological entities. This was developed using z-stack images from murine organotypic slice cultures from central nervous system tissue, and two sets of pseudo-data. A large amount of non-specific cross-over situations are excluded using this method. This proposed method is also proven to be robust in recognising co-localisations even when images are polluted with a range of noises.

Results: The proposed CBCs and CICs produce robust co-localisation measurements which are easy to interpret, resilient to noise and capable of removing a large amount of false positivity, such as non-specific cross-overs. Performance of this method of measurement is significantly more accurate than existing measurements, as determined statistically using pseudo datasets of known values. This method provides an important and reliable tool for fluorescent 3D neurobiological studies, and will benefit other biological studies which measure fluorescence co-localisation in 3D.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30632
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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