Christoph Palm, Penny P. Graeme, William R. Crum, Julia A. Schnabel, Uwe Pietrzyk, David J. Hawkes
Fusion of histology and MRI is frequently demanded in biomedical research to study in vitro tissue properties in an in vivo reference space. Distortions and artifacts caused by cutting and staining of histological slices as well as differences in spatial resolution make even the rigid fusion a difficult task. State-of- the-art methods start with a mono-modal restacking yielding a histological pseudo-3D volume. The 3D information of the MRI reference is considered subsequently. However, consistency of the histology volume and consistency due to the corresponding MRI seem to be diametral goals. Therefore, we propose a novel fusion framework optimizing histology/histology and histology/MRI consistency at the same time finding a balance between both goals. Method – Direct slice-to-slice correspondence even in irregularly-spaced cutting sequences is achieved by registration-based interpolation of the MRI. Introducing a weighted multi-image mutual information metric (WI), adjacent histology and corresponding MRI are taken into account at the same time. Therefore, the reconstruction of the histological volume as well as the fusion with the MRI is done in a single step. Results – Based on two data sets with more than 110 single registrations in all, the results are evaluated quantitatively based on Tanimoto overlap measures and qualitatively showing the fused volumes. In comparison to other multi-image metrics, the reconstruction based on WI is significantly improved. We evaluated different parameter settings with emphasis on the weighting term steering the balance between intra- and inter-modality consistency.