Acta Stereologica



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Yrjö Collan

Studying cells with different methods in serial sections: principles of matching

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Serial sections of cells can be used to combining results achieved with various investigation methods. Example: combination of light microscopic staining methods or autoradiography with electron microscopy. Histochemistry with its numerous applications benefits from the use of serial sections. Interpretation of results, however, is dependent on stereological principles outlined in this paper. It is possible to estimate the probability of a spherical cell being present in one serial section if it is seen in the other. Estimates can also be given on the number of cells in common in two serial sections, adjacent or separated by a known distance. Under certain conditions perfect matching of cells is possible if cell profiles with nuclei and corresponding location in both sections are matched. For perfect matching the distance of nuclei from each other in tissues is the most critical parameter. Matching of densely packed cells in serial sections is not always possible without modification of the traditional histological techniques. Psychological aspects of recognition are generally less restricting than the stereological conditions for perfect matching. Formulae to estimate the reliability of matching are outlined. Examples of applications are given.

Keywords : autoradiography, electron microscopy, geometrical probability, histochemistry, light microscopy, serial sectioning

Om dit artikel te citeren:

Yrjö Collan, «Studying cells with different methods in serial sections: principles of matching», Acta Stereologica [En ligne], Volume 6 (1987), Supplement II (The commemorative-memorial volume: twenty-five years of stereology) - May 1987, 157-167 URL :

Over : Yrjö Collan

Department of Pathology, University of Kuopio, P.O.B. 6, 70211 Kuopio 21, FInland