Dilated dense U-net for infant hippocampus subfield segmentation

Hancan Zhu, Feng Shi, Li Wang, Sheng Che Hung, Meng Hsiang Chen, Shuai Wang, Weili Lin, Dinggang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate and automatic segmentation of infant hippocampal subfields from magnetic resonance (MR) images is an important step for studying memory related infant neurological diseases. However, existing hippocampal subfield segmentation methods were generally designed based on adult subjects, and would compromise performance when applied to infant subjects due to insufficient tissue contrast and fast changing structural patterns of early hippocampal development. In this paper, we propose a new fully convolutional network (FCN) for infant hippocampal subfield segmentation by embedding the dilated dense network in the U-net, namely DUnet. The embedded dilated dense network can generate multi-scale features while keeping high spatial resolution, which is useful in fusing the low-level features in the contracting path with the high-level features in the expanding path. To further improve the performance, we group every pair of convolutional layers with one residual connection in the DUnet, and obtain the Residual DUnet (ResDUnet). Experimental results show that our proposed DUnet and ResDUnet improve the average Dice coefficient by 2.1 and 2.5% for infant hippocampal subfield segmentation, respectively, when compared with the classic 3D U-net. The results also demonstrate that our methods outperform other state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work utilizes data collected by a NIH grant (1U01MH110274) and the efforts of the UNC/UMN Baby Connectome Project Consortium. HZ was partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 61602307, 61877039), and Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (No. LY19F020013).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Zhu, Shi, Wang, Hung, Chen, Wang, Lin and Shen.


  • Deep learning
  • Dilated dense network
  • Fully convolutional network
  • Hippocampal subfield segmentation
  • Infant hippocampus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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