BioMedical Engineering OnLine (2020-01-01)

Inter-site harmonization based on dual generative adversarial networks for diffusion tensor imaging: application to neonatal white matter development

  • Jie Zhong,
  • Ying Wang,
  • Jie Li,
  • Xuetong Xue,
  • Simin Liu,
  • Miaomiao Wang,
  • Xinbo Gao,
  • Quan Wang,
  • Jian Yang,
  • Xianjun Li

DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12938-020-0748-9
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 19, no. 1
pp. 1 – 18

Abstract

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Abstract Background Site-specific variations are challenges for pooling analyses in multi-center studies. This work aims to propose an inter-site harmonization method based on dual generative adversarial networks (GANs) for diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) derived metrics on neonatal brains. Results DTI-derived metrics (fractional anisotropy, FA; mean diffusivity, MD) are obtained on age-matched neonates without magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities: 42 neonates from site 1 and 42 neonates from site 2. Significant inter-site differences of FA can be observed. The proposed harmonization approach and three conventional methods (the global-wise scaling, the voxel-wise scaling, and the ComBat) are performed on DTI-derived metrics from two sites. During the tract-based spatial statistics, inter-site differences can be removed by the proposed dual GANs method, the voxel-wise scaling, and the ComBat. Among these methods, the proposed method holds the lowest median values in absolute errors and root mean square errors. During the pooling analysis of two sites, Pearson correlation coefficients between FA and the postmenstrual age after harmonization are larger than those before harmonization. The effect sizes (Cohen’s d between males and females) are also maintained by the harmonization procedure. Conclusions The proposed dual GANs-based harmonization method is effective to harmonize neonatal DTI-derived metrics from different sites. Results in this study further suggest that the GANs-based harmonization is a feasible pre-processing method for pooling analyses in multi-center studies.

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