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Arch Biol Med Exp (Santiago). 1990 May;23(1):21-7.

Three-dimensional morphometry of mammalian cells. II. Areas, volumes, and area-volume ratios.

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Departamento de Preclínicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago.


From three-dimensional diameter measurements of eleven kinds of cells pertaining to five different organs, which were excised from eleven adult mammals (nine species) whose body weight range was 40 g to 450 kg, we calculated the corresponding cell soma areas (A), volumes (V), and finally their area-volume ratios (A/V). The dissimilarities among these eleven cell types could be established quantitatively by means of a cluster analysis. The dendrograms for cell areas (A), volumes (V), and their corresponding area-volume ratios (A/V), yielded similar groupings when cell areas and volumes were compared, yet the grouping of the area-volume ratios (A/V) for the eleven types of cells was different. These results were corroborated by means of the principal components analysis, where five distinct cell groupings could be established. The relationship between cellular morphometry, oxidative metabolism, and body mass, was established by means of the fractal geometry of the transport systems (respiration and circulation), which provides the tools for the scale-dependent analysis of the surfaces across which the transport of metabolites is performed.

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