Neuropathologists assess vast brain areas to identify diverse and subtly-differentiated morphologies. Standard semi-quantitative scoring approaches, however, are coarse-grained and lack precise neuroanatomic localization. We report a proof-of-concept deep learning pipeline that identifies specific neuropathologies—amyloid plaques and cerebral amyloid angiopathy—in immunohistochemically-stained archival slides. Using automated segmentation of stained objects and a cloud-based interface, we annotate > 70,000 plaque candidates from 43 whole slide images (WSIs) to train and evaluate convolutional neural networks. Networks achieve strong plaque classification on a 10-WSI hold-out set (0.993 and 0.743 areas under the receiver operating characteristic and precision recall curve, respectively). Prediction confidence maps visualize morphology distributions at high resolution. Resulting network-derived amyloid beta (Aβ)-burden scores correlate well with established semi-quantitative scores on a 30-WSI blinded hold-out. Finally, saliency mapping demonstrates that networks learn patterns agreeing with accepted pathologic features. This scalable means to augment a neuropathologist’s ability suggests a route to neuropathologic deep phenotyping.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)