Design-based stereology can be divided into two main analyses:
Global probes deal with regions. These characteristics that are estimated can be expressed as absolute values (e.g., the number of granule cells in the rat cerebellum or the volume of the cortex) or as relative values (e.g., the volume fraction of the rat cerebellum occupied by the granule cell layer, the density of granule cells within the granule cell layer of the rat cerebellum).
Local probes are concerned with particles (e.g., the volume and/or surface area of a neuron cell body).
Both global and local characteristics can be analyzed by a variety of design-based probes. Many local probes can be used during global probes. For example, while using the optical fractionator probe to estimate the number of cells in a region, the nucleator probe can also be employed to estimate the volume of the cells.
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developers of Stereo Investigator, the world’s most cited stereology system