Improved semiautomatic method for morphometry of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in corneal flatmounts

Exp Eye Res. 2008 Nov;87(5):462-70. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2008.08.007. Epub 2008 Aug 26.


Purpose of the study was to describe a novel semiautomatic, quantitative image analysis method based on threshold analysis for morphometry of corneal (lymph)angiogenesis and to test its validity, reliability and objectivity. Murine corneas were vascularized by using a suture-induced neovascularization assay. For immunohistochemistry, flatmounts of the vascularized corneas were stained with LYVE-1 as a specific lymphatic vascular endothelial marker and with CD31 as panendothelial marker. Morphometry of corneal hem and lymphangiogenesis was performed semi-automatically on digital images using image analysis software. Data were analyzed by a paired t-test, intraclass-correlation and systemic difference analysis compared to a manual method. The semiautomatic method based on threshold analysis was more valid in measuring the area covered by blood or lymphatic vessels. Both methods had a good reproducibility with respect to both vessel types (blood vessels: manual: 0.969, semiautomatic: 0.982; lymphatic vessels: manual: 0.951, semiautomatic: 0.966), whereas the systemic difference was significant for both groups measuring lymphatic vessels (manual: p<0.003; semiautomatic: p<0.035) and for the manual method measuring blood vessels (manual: p<0.0001; semiautomatic: p<0.419). The new semiautomatic morphometry method based on threshold analysis provides higher accuracy, is more valid than and at least as reproducible and objective as the manual outlining method. Therefore the semiautomatic method can be used to detect even small effects on hem and lymphangiogenesis in murine corneal flatmounts with greater precision.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Cornea / blood supply
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Corneal Neovascularization / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Lymphangiogenesis*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results