Tissue shrinkage and unbiased stereological estimation of particle number and size

Authors

  • K.-A. Dorph-Petersen,

    1. Stereological Research Laboratory and Electron Microscopy Laboratory, University Institute of Pathology, Institute of Experimental Clinical Research, University of Aarhus, Denmark
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  • J. R. Nyengaard,

    1. Stereological Research Laboratory and Electron Microscopy Laboratory, University Institute of Pathology, Institute of Experimental Clinical Research, University of Aarhus, Denmark
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  • H. J. G. Gundersen

    1. Stereological Research Laboratory and Electron Microscopy Laboratory, University Institute of Pathology, Institute of Experimental Clinical Research, University of Aarhus, Denmark
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Karl-Anton Dorph-Petersen, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, W1651 BST, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. Tel.: + 1 412 624 9909; fax: + 1 412 624 9910; e-mail: karl-anton@dorph-petersen.dk*Part of paper presented at the 10th International Congress for Stereology, Melbourne, 1–4 November 1999.

Abstract

This paper is a review of the stereological problems related to the unbiased estimation of particle number and size when tissue deformation is present. The deformation may occur during the histological processing of the tissue. It is especially noted that the widely used optical disector may be biased by dimensional changes in the z-axis, i.e. the direction perpendicular to the section plane. This is often the case when frozen sections or vibratome sections are used for the stereological measurements. The present paper introduces new estimators to be used in optical fractionator and optical disector designs; the first is, as usual, the simplest and most robust. Finally, it is stated that when tissue deformation only occurs in the z-direction, unbiased estimation of particle size with several estimators is possible.

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