A methodology for registration of a histological slide and in vivo MRI volume based on optimizing mutual information

Mol Imaging. Jan-Mar 2006;5(1):16-23.


We present a method for registering histology and in vivo imaging that requires minimal microtoming and is automatic following the user's initialization. In this demonstration, we register a single hematoxylin-and-eosin-stained histological slide of a coronal section of a rat brain harboring a 9L gliosarcoma with an in vivo 7T MR image volume of the same brain. Because the spatial resolution of the in vivo MRI is limited, we add the step of obtaining a high spatial resolution, ex vivo MRI in situ for intermediate registration. The approach taken was to maximize mutual information in order to optimize the registration between all pairings of image data whether the sources are MRI, tissue block photograph, or stained sample photograph. The warping interpolant used was thin plate splines with the appropriate basis function for either 2-D or 3-D applications. All registrations were implemented by user initialization of the approximate pose between the two data sets, followed by automatic optimization based on maximizing mutual information. Only the higher quality anatomical images were used in the registration process; however, the spatial transformation was directly applied to a quantitative diffusion image. Quantitative diffusion maps from the registered location appeared highly correlated with the H&E slide. Overall, this approach provides a robust method for coregistration of in vivo images with histological sections and will have broad applications in the field of functional and molecular imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344