We have explored the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) as a noninvasive tool for assessing the toxicity of topical microbicides, products used to prevent HIV, by monitoring the integrity of the vaginal epithelium. A novel feature-based segmentation algorithm using a nearest-neighbor classifier was developed to monitor changes in the morphology of vaginal epithelium. The two-step automated algorithm yielded OCT images with a clearly defined epithelial layer, enabling differentiation of normal and damaged tissue. The algorithm was robust in that it was able to discriminate the epithelial layer from underlying stroma as well as residual microbicide product on the surface. This segmentation technique for OCT images has the potential to be readily adaptable to the clinical setting for noninvasively defining the boundaries of the epithelium, enabling quantifiable assessment of microbicide-induced damage in vaginal tissue.
- image segmentation
- optical coherence tomography
- vaginal epithelium
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering