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Marco Masseroli, Ph.D.
Marco Masseroli, Francisco O'Valle, Raimundo G. Del Moral.
Department of Pathology, School of Medicine and University Hospital, University of Granada, 18012 Granada, Spain
Dpto. de Anatomía Patológica, Facultad de Medicina, Avda. de Madrid 11 - 18012 Granada, SPAIN
BACKGROUND: Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease with a high prevalence, significant psychological repercussions and social costs, accounting for the interest in establishing an effective treatment. Although the severity and extension of psoriasis can be clinically assessed (PASI), there is no accurate, objective and reproducible standard quantitative method that can be applied to the histopathologic assessment of characteristic skin lesions, especially important in the evaluation of the efficacy of new drug treatments. The present work describes the design of an original computer application based on digital image analysis for the accurate and objective histomorphometric quantification of skin alterations in psoriasis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The original image processing algorithms described here allow the separate segmentation of areas of the stratum corneum, epidermis, dermis and dermal papillae present in color images of skin tissue sections stained with Masson trichrome. The surface of all the areas is automatically quantified in mm2 and percentages, and their mean thickness is determined in mm. The method rapidly provides objective, accurate and wholly reproducible quantifications with no requirement for specifically trained staff. Thus, in both clinical practice and research the need and importance of this method are evident for the reliable, objective and accurate quantification of histomorphometric skin alterations induced by psoriasis.
CONCLUSIONS: The automatic image analysis method illustrated in this work provides a very significant and useful instrument for the accurate quantification of the intensity of psoriatic lesions, the quantitative follow-up of post-treatment lesional changes, and the comparative evaluation of responses to drug treatments.
Key Words: Psoriasis, Image processing, Morphologic quantification.
Marco Masseroli is a postdoctoral fellow of the Pathology Department of the School of Medicine, University of Granada, where he develops image analysis applications in histopathological videomicroscopy.
Granada, renowned world-wide for the Alhambra Palace, is the most important university town of the Andalusía region. Located in the south of Spain, it is close to both the "Costa del Sol" and the "Sierra Nevada". We look forward to seeing you atThe Twenty-Second Annual Course on the Surgical Pathology of Neoplastic Diseases organized by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to be held in Granada (May 1999).