Accurate removal of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal outside the brain, a.k.a., skull stripping, is a key step in the brain image pre-processing pipelines. In rodents, this is mostly achieved by manually editing a brain mask, which is time-consuming and operator dependent. Automating this step is particularly challenging in rodents as compared to humans, because of differences in brain/scalp tissue geometry, image resolution with respect to brain-scalp distance, and tissue contrast around the skull. In this study, we proposed a deep-learning-based framework, U-Net, to automatically identify the rodent brain boundaries in MR images. The U-Net method is robust against inter-subject variability and eliminates operator dependence. To benchmark the efficiency of this method, we trained and validated our model using both in-house collected and publicly available datasets. In comparison to current state-of-the-art methods, our approach achieved superior averaged Dice similarity coefficient to ground truth T2-weighted rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement and T2∗-weighted echo planar imaging data in both rats and mice (all p < 0.05), demonstrating robust performance of our approach across various MRI protocols.
|Journal||Frontiers in Neuroscience|
|Publication status||Published - 2020 Oct 7|
- brain mask
- mouse brain
- rat brain
- skull stripping
ASJC Scopus subject areas