Studying the Applicability of Generative Adversarial Networks on HEp-2 Cell Image Augmentation

Asaad Anaam, Hani M. Bu-Omer, Akio Gofuku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Anti-Nuclear Antibodies (ANAs) testing is the primary serological diagnosis screening test for autoimmune diseases. ANAs testing is conducted mainly by the Indirect Immunofluorescence (IIF) on Human Epithelial cell-substrate (HEp-2) protocol. However, due to its high variability, human-subjectivity, and low throughput, there is an insistent need to develop an efficient Computer-Aided Diagnosis system (CADs) to automate this protocol. Many recently proposed Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) demonstrated promising results in HEp-2 cell image classification, which is the main task of the HE-p2 IIF protocol. However, the lack of large labeled datasets is still the main challenge in this field. This work provides a detailed study of the applicability of using generative adversarial networks (GANs) algorithms as an augmentation method. Different types of GANs were employed to synthesize HEp-2 cell images to address the data scarcity problem. For systematic comparison, empirical quantitative metrics were implemented to evaluate different GAN models' performance of learning the real data representations. The results of this work showed that though the high visual similarity with the real images, GANs' capacity to generate diverse data is still limited. This deficiency in the generated data diversity is found to be of a crucial impact when used as a standalone method for augmentation. However, combining limited-size GANs-generated data with classic augmentation improves the classification accuracy across different variants of CNNs. Our results demonstrated a competitive performance for the overall classification accuracy and the mean class accuracy of the HEp-2 cell image classification task.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9475986
Pages (from-to)98048-98059
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Computer-aided diagnosis systems (CADs)
  • HEp-2 cell image classification
  • convolutional neural networks (CNNs)
  • data augmentation
  • data diversity
  • evaluation metrics
  • generative adversarial networks (GANs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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