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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Mar 15;114(6):716-24. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00855.2012. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Stereological assessment of mouse lung parenchyma via nondestructive, multiscale micro-CT imaging validated by light microscopic histology.

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1
Department of Radiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.

Abstract

Quantitative assessment of the lung microstructure using standard stereological methods such as volume fractions of tissue, alveolar surface area, or number of alveoli, are essential for understanding the state of normal and diseased lung. These measures are traditionally obtained from histological sections of the lung tissue, a process that ultimately destroys the three-dimensional (3-D) anatomy of the tissue. In comparison, a novel X-ray-based imaging method that allows nondestructive sectioning and imaging of fixed lungs at multiple resolutions can overcome this limitation. Scanning of the whole lung at high resolution and subsequent regional sampling at ultrahigh resolution without physically dissecting the organ allows the application of design-based stereology for assessment of the whole lung structure. Here we validate multiple stereological estimates performed on micro-computed tomography (μCT) images by comparing them with those obtained via conventional histology on the same mouse lungs. We explore and discuss the potentials and limitations of the two approaches. Histological examination offers higher resolution and the qualitative differentiation of tissues by staining, but ultimately loses 3-D tissue relationships, whereas μCT allows for the integration of morphometric data with the spatial complexity of lung structure. However, μCT has limited resolution satisfactory for the sterological estimates presented in this study but not for differentiation of tissues. We conclude that introducing stereological methods in μCT studies adds value by providing quantitative information on internal structures while not curtailing more complex approaches to the study of lung architecture in the context of physiological or pathological studies.

PMID:
23264542
PMCID:
PMC3615598
DOI:
10.1152/japplphysiol.00855.2012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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