TScratch: a novel and simple software tool for automated analysis of monolayer wound healing assays

Biotechniques. 2009 Apr;46(4):265-74. doi: 10.2144/000113083.


Cell migration plays a major role in development, physiology, and disease, and is frequently evaluated in vitro by the monolayer wound healing assay. The assay analysis, however, is a time-consuming task that is often performed manually. In order to accelerate this analysis, we have developed TScratch, a new, freely available image analysis technique and associated software tool that uses the fast discrete curvelet transform to automate the measurement of the area occupied by cells in the images. This tool helps to significantly reduce the time needed for analysis and enables objective and reproducible quantification of assays. The software also offers a graphical user interface which allows easy inspection of analysis results and, if desired, manual modification of analysis parameters. The automated analysis was validated by comparing its results with manual-analysis results for a range of different cell lines. The comparisons demonstrate a close agreement for the vast majority of images that were examined and indicate that the present computational tool can reproduce statistically significant results in experiments with well-known cell migration inhibitors and enhancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Technical Report

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Migration Assays
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cells / classification
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Computer Graphics*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Mice
  • Software*
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Wound Healing / physiology*