The Most Comprehensive Source of Stereology Information on the Web

Stereology Information for the Biological Sciences

This site introduces both basic and advanced concepts of Stereology. The emphasis is on the use of stereology in biological research, though anyone interested in learning concepts of stereology will find something of interest. The application of stereological methods to biological studies permits researchers to effectively and efficiently gather unbiased, accurate data. This site is dedicated to helping researchers understand the principles of design-based stereology and its advantages over less sophisticated approaches in quantitative histology.

What is Stereology?

Design-based stereology is a set of methods to ensure rigorous quantitative analysis of the size, shape, and number of objects. When properly used, stereology plays an important role in validating and rejecting experimental hypotheses in biological research. It produces results that are unbiased, efficient, and more reliable than other ad hoc quantitative analyses. Unbiased stereology provides an important contribution to the advancement in biological research by improving the consistency and dependability of quantitative analytical results produced in the laboratory and reported in scientific publications.

An Introduction to Stereology Probes

The most modern unbiased stereology probes are used to quantify aspects of biological tissue in a reproducible and efficient manner. These stereological probes are appropriate for many fields of basic and applied biological and medical research. These probes should always be used in conjunction with systematic random sampling.

OPTICAL FRACTIONATOR to estimate NUMBER of cells

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Estimate the size of cell populations with the optical fractionator in thick tissue sections. In this probe, sub-volumes are sampled and then are extrapolated to arrive at an estimate of the entire cell population. A virtual space called an optical disector is used in thick sections that can be oriented anyway you like. Disector counting rules are followed to avoid overestimating, and an oil objective lens is employed for imaging, since fine z-resolution is needed to find the leading edge of the cell and to have enough focal planes to determine if it is in the disector. Note: avoid counting pieces of cells when you really want to count whole cells.    OPTICAL FRACTIONATOR

 

NUCLEATOR to estimate VOLUME of cells

Estimate individual cell volumnucleator-2es with the nucleator. A point in the cell is identified, then one to four rays are marked and their mean length is used in the formula for the volume of a sphere, generating an estimate of the cell volume. The volume estimate is number-weighted; the sampling is done with a disector in thick sections so that it is not more likely to sample larger cells than smaller cells. It is important to use a method to select cells without bias by picking them in a manner that does not favor any position of the cell in space; you won’t overestimate by sampling too many larger cross-sections or underestimate by sampling too many smaller cross-sections.    NUCLEATOR

 

CAVALIERI POINT-COUNTING to estimate VOLUME of regions

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This probe is versatile in that it can be used on thin optical or physical sections that are oriented according to the preference of the researcher. A fraction of the tissue is marked with points over the region(s) of interest, and an extrapolation is carried out to arrive at the estimate. Unbiased estimates of regional volume are easy to obtain efficiently using Cavalieri point-counting.     CAVALIERI/POINT-COUNTING

 

SPACEBALLS to estimate LENGTH of fibers and vessels

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Estimate length of biological filaments such as axons or blood vessels without facing the herculean task of tracing them all. Instead the intersections of the filaments with a virtual sphere are marked and converted to a length estimate. Thick sections may be oriented as the researcher prefers. This probe is implemented along with the fractionator method; a volume-fraction is sampled and extrapolated using the reciprocal of the volume fraction to arrive at the estimate of length.    SPACEBALLS

 

ISOTROPIC FAKIR to estimate SURFACE of membranes

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To estimate surface area, a triplet of line segments that has the property of being isotropic in space is used to probe in thick sections. Intersections of the triplet with the surface are counted and a formula is used to arrive at an estimate of the surface area; the more intersections recorded the greater the surface. Like the other regional probes on this page, thick, preferentially oriented sections are used and the fractionator method works to make an extrapolation based on the fraction of volume that was sampled.     ISOTROPIC FAKIR

more probes including solutions for thin tissue sections

 

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Recent Noteworthy Stereology Publications

Published papers using unbiased stereology; last updated on 10.22.2018.

starindicates that the researchers did a good job reporting stereological parameters. To see what parameters should be reported click here.

Hippocampal distribution of parvalbumin neurons in female and male rats submitted to the same volume and intensity of aerobic exercise

Astrocyte-specific deletion of Kir6.1/K-ATP channel aggravates cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury through endoplasmic reticulum stress in mice

Mutant huntingtin reduction in astrocytes slows disease progression in the bachd conditional huntington’s disease mouse model

Local injection of Endothelin-1 in the early neonatal rat brain models ischemic damage associated with motor impairment and diffuse loss in brain volume

Crybb2 Mutations Consistently Affect Schizophrenia Endophenotypes in Mice

Normalizing glucocorticoid levels attenuates metabolic and neuropathological symptoms in the R6/2 mouse model of huntington’s disease

Specificity of primate amygdalar pathways to hippocampus

Centella asiatica attenuates hippocampal mitochondrial dysfunction and improves memory and executive function in β-amyloid overexpressing mice

The effect of acute or repeated stress on the corticotropin releasing factor system in the CRH-IRES-Cre mouse: A validation study

Decreased Neurogenesis Increases Spatial Reversal Errors in Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus)

Relative neuron loss in hippocampal sclerosis of aging and Alzheimer disease

The effects of living in an outdoor enclosure on hippocampal plasticity and anxiety‐like behavior in response to nematode infection

Neuroprotective efficacy of P7C3 compounds in primate hippocampus

Hippocampal neural progenitor cells play a distinct role in fear memory retrieval in male and female CIE rats

starIngestion of subthreshold doses of environmental toxins induces ascending Parkinsonism in the rat

Administration of resveratrol improved Parkinson’s disease‐like phenotype by suppressing apoptosis of neurons via modulating the MALAT1/miR‐129/SNCA signaling pathway

Wwox deletion leads to reduced GABA-ergic inhibitory interneuron numbers and activation of microglia and astrocytes in mouse hippocampus

Effects of Gadodiamide and Gadoteric Acid on Rat Kidneys: A Comparative Study

Progression of myocardial ischemia leads to unique changes in immediate early gene expression in the spinal cord dorsal horn

starEffects of Maternal and Postweaning High-Fat Diet Exposure on the Hippocampal Functions and Morphology

Inhibition of miR-155 Limits Neuroinflammation and Improves Functional Recovery After Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury in Mice

Determinants of maximal whole body fat oxidation in elite cross‐country skiers: role of skeletal muscle mitochondria

Differential anxiety-related behaviours and brain activation in Tph2-deficient female mice exposed to adverse early environment

Retinal Morphology and Visual Specializations in Three Species of Chimaeras, the Deep-Sea R. pacifica and C. lignaria, and the Vertical Migrator C. milii (Holocephali)

Hypocretin mediates sleep and wake disturbances in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury

Proliferative cells in the rat developing neocortical grey matter: new insights into gliogenesis

The brain of the tree pangolin (Manis tricuspis). III. The unusual locus coeruleus complex

α-Synuclein interacts directly but reversibly with psychosine: implications for α-synucleinopathies

Continue reading “Recent Noteworthy Stereology publications”

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What’s New in Stereology.info

Watch the latest webinar on Thin tissue section images with Stereo Investigator – Whole Slide Edition
Drs. Dan Peruzzi and Nathan O’Connor introduce our brand-new software, Stereo Investigator – Whole Slide Edition, designed specifically to perform unbiased stereology on large, whole slide images, and demonstrate probes. Added on 09.27.2019

Read recently published papers using unbiased stereology updated on 09.21.2018

New page: Spinal Cord Injury added on 02.09.2018

New page: Blood Vessel Pathology in a Model of Alzheimer Disease Revealed Using Space Balls added on 02.09.2018

Stereology discussion forum added

Watch the latest webinar on Using the Optical Fractionator Probe to Estimate Number of Cells with Dr. Dan Peruzzi
Learn how to count cells in an unbiased manner with the Optical Fractionator probe in Stereo Investigator. Added on: 04.24.2017

 

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developers of Stereo Investigator, the world’s most cited stereology system