Automated detection and quantification of Wilms' Tumor 1-positive cells in murine diabetic kidney disease

Darshana Govind, Briana A. Santo, Brandon Ginley, Rabi Yacoub, Avi Z. Rosenberg, Kuang Yu Jen, Vighnesh Walavalkar, Gregory E. Wilding, Amber M. Worral, Imtiaz Mohammad, Pinaki Sarder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In diabetic kidney disease (DKD), podocyte depletion, and the subsequent migration of parietal epithelial cells (PECs) to the tuft, is a precursor to progressive glomerular damage, but the limitations of brightfield microscopy currently preclude direct pathological quantitation of these cells. Here we present an automated approach to podocyte and PEC detection developed using kidney sections from mouse model emulating DKD, stained first for Wilms' Tumor 1 (WT1) (podocyte and PEC marker) by immunofluorescence, then post-stained with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS). A generative adversarial network (GAN)-based pipeline was used to translate these PAS-stained sections into WT1-labeled IF images, enabling in silico label-free podocyte and PEC identification in brightfield images. Our method detected WT1-positive cells with high sensitivity/specificity (0.87/0.92). Additionally, our algorithm performed with a higher Cohen's kappa (0.85) than the average manual identification by three renal pathologists (0.78). We propose that this pipeline will enable accurate detection of WT1- positive cells in research applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2021
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Pathology
EditorsJohn E. Tomaszewski, Aaron D. Ward
ISBN (Electronic)9781510640351
StatePublished - 2021
EventMedical Imaging 2021: Digital Pathology - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Feb 15 2021Feb 19 2021

Publication series

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


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2021: Digital Pathology
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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