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J Microsc. 2001 Dec;204(Pt 3):232-46.

Tissue shrinkage and unbiased stereological estimation of particle number and size.

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Stereological Research Laboratory and Electron Microscopy Laboratory, University Institute of Pathology, Institute of Experimental Clinical Research, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


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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