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 05.23.2019.

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

starProlonged Cannabidiol Treatment Lacks on Detrimental Effects on Memory, Motor Performance and Anxiety in C57BL/6J Mice

Von Economo neurons are part of a larger neuronal population that are selectively vulnerable in C9orf72 frontotemporal dementia

Differential activity pattern of c-Fos in the nucleus accumbens between adult and aged rats during flavor recognition memory

Role of dietary Spirulina platensis in improving mucosal immune responses and disease resistance of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Therapeutic effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester on alveolar bone loss in rats with endotoxin-induced periodontitis

Temporal evolution of microglia and α-synuclein accumulation following foetal grafting in Parkinson’s disease

Oximetry-Guided Normoxic Resuscitation Following Canine Cardiac Arrest Reduces Cerebellar Purkinje Neuronal Damage

Standardized human bone marrow-derived stem cells infusion improves survival and recovery in a rat model of spinal cord injury

Low-Dose Maraviroc, an Antiretroviral Drug, Attenuates the Infiltration of T Cells into the Central Nervous System and Protects the Nigrostriatum in Hemiparkinsonian Monkeys

Unusual topographic specializations of retinal ganglion cell density and spatial resolution in a cliff‐dwelling artiodactyl, the Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana)

Terminal Organization of the Corticospinal Projection from the Lateral Premotor Cortex to the Cervical Enlargement (C5‐T1) in Rhesus Monkey

Targeting PSD95-nNOS interaction by Tat-N-dimer peptide during status epilepticus is neuroprotective in MAM-pilocarpine rat model

Histologic features of intracranial thrombi in stroke patients with cancer

Immunohistochemical analysis of the mouse celiac ganglion: An integrative relay station of the peripheral nervous system

starSmall-scale environmental enrichment and exercise enhance learning and spatial memory of Carassius auratus, and increase cell proliferation in the telencephalon: an exploratory study

Neuroprotective effects of lignan 7-hydroxymatairesinol (HMR/lignan™) in a rodent model of Parkinson’s disease

Thymoquinone prevents neurodegeneration against MPTP in vivo and modulates α-synuclein aggregation in vitro

AAV2/DJ-mediated alpha-synuclein overexpression in the rat substantia nigra as early stage model of Parkinson’s disease

Dopamine drives binge‐like consumption of a palatable food in experimental Parkinsonism

Generation of a nitric oxide signaling pathway in mesenchymal stem cells promotes endothelial lineage commitment

Quantitative ultrasound and apoptotic death in the neonatal primate brain

Impaired Remyelination in a Mouse Model of Huntington Disease

Toll-like receptor 9 antagonism modulates astrocyte function and preserves proximal axons following spinal cord injury

Amelioration of the nigrostriatal pathway facilitated by ultrasound-mediated neurotrophic delivery in early Parkinson’s disease

Effects of Milk fat globule membrane and its various components on neurologic development in a postnatal growth restriction rat model

In utero Exposure to Anesthetics Alters Neuronal Migration Pattern in Developing Cerebral Cortex and Causes Postnatal Behavioral Deficits in Rats

Active feminization of the preoptic area occurs independently of the gonads in Amphiprion ocellaris

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 04.24.2019

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