The evaluation of the morphology and organization of collagen fibers is critical in understanding wound healing and tissue remodeling after a thermal injury of the skin. However, histological analysis conducted by pathologists is often labor-intensive and limited to qualitative evaluations and scoring within a narrow field of view. In this study, we propose a convolutional neural network (CNN) model to classify Masson's trichrome (MT)-stained histology images of burn-induced scar tissue and to characterize the microstructures of normal tissue and scar tissue in a quantitative manner. The scar tissue is created on in vivo rodent models and prepared for MT-stained histology slides after wound healing. A CNN model is developed, trained, and tested with various sizes of the histology images for classification and characterization. The proposed model classifies both normal tissue (i.e., without burn, as the control) and scar tissue at various scales with over 97% accuracy. The features acquired from the proposed CNN model visually characterizes the density and directional variance of the collagen fibers distributed in the dermal layers from whole histology images. The proposed deep learning technique can provide an objective and reliable method to rapidly assess and quantify wound repair and remodeling.
- Deep learning
- collagen fiber characterization
- histology image
- scar tissue classification