Examining structural changes in diabetic nephropathy using inter-nuclear distances in glomeruli: A comparison of variously automated methods

Olivier Simon, Rabi Yacoub, Sanjay Jain, John E. Tomaszewski, Pinaki Sarder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In diabetic nephropathy (DN), hyperglycemia drives a progressive thickening of and damage to the glomerular filtration surfaces, as well as mesangial expansion and a constriction of capillary lumens. This leads at first to high blood pressure, increased glomerular filtration and micro-proteinuria, and later (if untreated) to severe proteinuria and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Though, it is well known that DN is accompanied by marked histopathological changes, the assessment of these structural changes is to a degree subjective and hence varies between pathologists. In this work, we make a first study of glomerular changes in DN from a graph-Theoretical and distance-based standpoint, using minimal spanning trees (MSTs) and distance matrices to generate statistical distributions that can potentially provide a "fingerprint" of DN. We apply these tools to detect notable differences between normal and DN glomeruli in both human disease and in a streptozotocin-induced (STZ) mouse model. We also introduce an automated pipeline for rapidly generating MSTs and evaluating their properties with respect to DN, and make a first pass at three-dimensional MST structures. We envision these approaches may provide a better understanding not only of the processes underway in DN progression, but of key differences between actual human disease and current experimental models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2018
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Pathology
EditorsMetin N. Gurcan, John E. Tomaszewski
ISBN (Electronic)9781510616516
StatePublished - 2018
EventMedical Imaging 2018: Digital Pathology - Houston, United States
Duration: Feb 11 2018Feb 12 2018

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2018: Digital Pathology
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Graph
  • Kolmogorov-Smirnov test
  • Minimum-spanning tree
  • Whole-slide image analysis


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