Cells and Materials


The aim of the present study was to examine whether two different cell populations could be discerned using image analysis of a variety of morphological parameters on bacteriological and tissue culture polystyrene surfaces. Rat periosteal and osteoblast cultures were established on both polystyrene petri dishes and examined using phase contrast microscopy after one and two weeks before capturing digital images which were stored on a personal computer. The digital images were processed to identify the cell margins or perimeter, from which seven different morphological parameters were calculated using a program developed (by GL) for both the cell populations on the two polystyrene surfaces. None of the morphological parameters were able to distinguish between all of the culture types, so discriminant analyses were applied using different combinations of the parameters. The best discrimination between the different cell outlines was found after one week using 5 of the parameters combined in a quadratic discriminant analysis, which allocated 94% of the outlines to their correct group and 94% after two weeks using all the parameters. The study demonstrated that it was possible to quantify morphological differences between two cell populations grown on either tissue culture or bacteriological polystyrene petri dishes. It may be possible to develop this image and statistical analysis further to allow non-invasive automatic identification of particular cells in mixed populations in vitro.