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Semin Nephrol. 2015 May;35(3):266-78. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2015.04.006.

Morphology in the Digital Age: Integrating High-Resolution Description of Structural Alterations With Phenotypes and Genotypes.

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Department of Pathology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.
Division of Nephrology(,) Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.
Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.
Department of Pathology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Experimental Pathology Laboratory, Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.
Department of Pathology, University of Miami, Miami, FL. Electronic address:


Conventional light microscopy has been used to characterize and classify renal diseases, evaluate histopathology in studies and trials, and educate renal pathologists and nephrologists. The advent of digital pathology, in which a glass slide can be scanned to create whole slide images (WSIs) for viewing and manipulating on a computer monitor, provides real and potential advantages compared with conventional light microscopy. Software tools such as annotation, morphometry, and image analysis can be applied to WSIs for studies or educational purposes, and the digital images are available globally to clinicians, pathologists, and investigators. New ways of assessing renal pathology with observational data collection may allow better morphologic correlations and integration with molecular and genetic signatures, refinements of classification schema, and understanding of disease pathogenesis. In multicenter studies, WSIs, which require additional quality assurance steps, provide efficiency by reducing slide shipping and consensus conference costs, and they allow slide viewing anytime and anywhere. Although validation studies for the routine diagnostic use of digital pathology still are needed, this is a powerful tool currently available for translational research, clinical trials, and education in renal pathology.


Digital pathology; NEPTUNE; glomerulus; renal pathology; virtual microscopy; virtual slide; whole slide imaging

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