Objective identification of cell cycle phases and subphases by automated image analysis

Biophys J. 1977 Aug;19(2):163-76. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(77)85577-X.


Frequency distributions of integrated optical density, perimeter, projection, area, form factor, average optical density, and mean dispersion path of nuclear images of Feulgen-stained HeLa S3 cells were obtained by automated image analysis at the base threshold of 0.04 OD. The mean values and standard deviations of these geometric parameters were then computed versus increasing values of threshold (0.08--0.32 OD). There is clear evidence of differential chromatin dispersion and convolution during the cycle of synchronized HeLa S3 cells at different times after selective mitotic detachment. The combination of average OD, form factor, and mean dispersion path at base threshold with the threshold dependence of nuclear morphometric parameters permits objective identification of cell cycle phases and their subphases, by characterizing variations in chromatin geometry within and between phases, regardless of whether DNA content remains constant (early G1, middle G1, late G1), varies only slightly (late G1-early S or late S-G2 transitions), or varies significantly (early S-middle S).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autoanalysis
  • Cell Division*
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • HeLa Cells / physiology*
  • Image Enhancement
  • Kinetics
  • Methods
  • Mitosis
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Time Factors