What is Cell Counting and Why is it Useful?

With the many image analysis services that Visikol has to offer, cell counting is by far one of the most popular services we provide. Cell counting is a service that provides insights into the cell populations present within a multiplex imaged sample by analyzing the positivity of client selected markers and marker combinations in cells within client images. The analysis is conducted through the segmentation of cells using a nuclear marker and colocalization of the other segmented markers to the segmented cells to determine positivity for the markers within each cell as seen in Figure 1. The analysis can also be extended to determining the positivity of markers within specific compartments of the cell such as the cytoplasm or the membrane with the addition of markers to outline those compartments.

Representative Image of Cell Counting

Figure 1. Representative image of cell counting to identify the cell populations within the image. Cell subtypes are outlined in two colors (yellow and magenta) on top of the original fluorescent image with all the channels with the nuclear channel shown in blue.

This type of analysis is useful because it can help to elucidate answers into how a treatment is affecting cell populations within a treated tissue sample. Specifically, cell counting can be useful because it can provide quantitative answers about the treatment’s effect. Some use cases involve the analysis of immune cell populations, cells expressing certain genes/proteins, or cells undergoing certain biological processes. Additionally, with multiple treatment groups, the images can be compared so that statistical metrics can be calculated to quantify the difference between the groups. This type of data is useful because it can provide insights into the biological change seen between control and treated groups to help a researcher gain a better understanding of how their treatment affects the cells within a tissue with quantitative metrics.

In order to augment the analysis, Visikol offers a spatial analysis service where distance metrics can be calculated between cells or cells to specific regions. This utilizes the information gained from cell counting to inform researchers about interactions of identified cells to other cells and specific regions within the tissue. Spatial analysis can help to answer questions such as cell infiltration into regions of a tissue (ex. immune cell infiltration into a tumor) and relations between different cell subtypes (ex. immune cell interactions). Furthermore, Visikol offers a wide variety of analyses that can take the analysis to the next level such as morphological analyses and bioinformatics to take a deeper dive into the data and extract more metrics to compare. Please contact us if you are interested in any of these services and wish to find out more information about them.

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