New MS lesion segmentation with deep residual attention gate U-Net utilizing 2D slices of 3D MR images

Sarica B., Şeker D. Z.

FRONTIERS IN NEUROSCIENCE, vol.16, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fnins.2022.912000
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: deep residual learning, U-Net, attention gate, convolutional neural networks, multiple sclerosis (MS), MS lesion activity segmentation, lesion activity, MS new lesions segmentation, CONVOLUTIONAL NEURAL-NETWORK, MULTIPLE-SCLEROSIS LESIONS, DISEASE-ACTIVITY, BRAIN MRI, SUBTRACTION
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that causes lesions in the central nervous system of humans due to demyelinating axons. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used for monitoring and measuring MS lesions. Automated methods for MS lesion segmentation have usually been performed on individual MRI scans. Recently, tracking lesion activity for quantifying and monitoring MS disease progression, especially detecting new lesions, has become an important biomarker. In this study, a unique pipeline with a deep neural network that combines U-Net, attention gate, and residual learning is proposed to perform better new MS lesion segmentation using baseline and follow-up 3D FLAIR MR images. The proposed network has a similar architecture to U-Net and is formed from residual units which facilitate the training of deep networks. Networks with fewer parameters are designed with better performance through the skip connections of U-Net and residual units, which facilitate information propagation without degradation. Attention gates also learn to focus on salient features of the target structures of various sizes and shapes. The MSSEG-2 dataset was used for training and testing the proposed pipeline, and the results were compared with those of other proposed pipelines of the challenge and experts who participated in the same challenge. According to the results over the testing set, the lesion-wise F1 and dice scores were obtained as a mean of 48 and 44.30%. For the no-lesion cases, the number of tested and volume of tested lesions were obtained as a mean of 0.148 and 1.488, respectively. The proposed pipeline outperformed 22 proposed pipelines and ranked 8(th) in the challenge.