Improving reliability of live/dead cell counting through automated image mosaicing

Filippo Piccinini, Anna Tesei, Giulia Paganelli, Wainer Zoli, Alessandro Bevilacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell counting is one of the basic needs of most biological experiments. Numerous methods and systems have been studied to improve the reliability of counting. However, at present, manual cell counting performed with a hemocytometer still represents the gold standard, despite several problems limiting reproducibility and repeatability of the counts and, at the end, jeopardizing their reliability in general. We present our own approach based on image processing techniques to improve counting reliability. It works in two stages: first building a high-resolution image of the hemocytometer's grid, then counting the live and dead cells by tagging the image with flags of different colours. In particular, we introduce GridMos (., a fully-automated mosaicing method to obtain a mosaic representing the whole hemocytometer's grid. In addition to offering more significant statistics, the mosaic "freezes" the culture status, thus permitting analysis by more than one operator. Finally, the mosaic achieved can thus be tagged by using an image editor, thus markedly improving counting reliability. The experiments performed confirm the improvements brought about by the proposed counting approach in terms of both reproducibility and repeatability, also suggesting the use of a mosaic of an entire hemocytometer's grid, then labelled trough an image editor, as the best likely candidate for the new gold standard method in cell counting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-463
Number of pages16
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Cancer treatments
  • Cell counting
  • Hemocytometer
  • Image processing
  • Oncology
  • Widefield microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine(all)


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