(210d) The Quantification Of Mitochondrial Location and Morphology Using Matlab

Lipke, E. A., Auburn University

The analysis and quantification of biological images is essential for researchers in many disciplines. For proper statistical analysis and results justification, hundreds of cells frequently have to be analyzed by manual counting due to the limitations of image processing tools. In order to better understand the function of human cells and tissues and to be able to use that knowledge to both prevent and treat disease, we need to be able to quantify visual information contained in biological images accurately in a time-efficient, reproducible, and unbiased manner. 

A MATLAB program was created to analyze fluorescently labeled organelles within cells. Specifically, the program was used to locate and quantify mitochondria and nuclei of different cell types, including human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC), human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293), and a human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7). The program extracts information about the number of mitochondria within the cell, as well as location of the mitochondria relative to the nucleus. Information about the morphology of the mitochondria, such as shape and connectivity was also determined. Compared with manual interpretation, it was found that the MATLAB program was quicker, more consistent, and bias-free. When applied to differentiating stem cells, this program can reveal how the organization and morphology of mitochondria changes with cell maturation and differentiation.