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Basic Stereology for Biologists and Neuroscientists

Subject Area(s):  Developmental BiologyCell BiologyNeurobiology

By Mark J. West, University of Aarhus, Denmark

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© 2012 • 206 pp., illus., index
Hardcover • $69 55.20
ISBN  978-1-936113-60-6
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  •     Description    
  •     Contents    


Stereological techniques allow biologists to create quantitative, three-dimensional descriptions of biological structures from two-dimensional images of tissue viewed under the microscope. For example, they can accurately estimate the size of a particular organelle, the total length of a mass of capillaries, or the number of neurons or synapses in a particular region of the brain.

This book provides a practical guide to designing and critically evaluating stereological studies of the nervous system and other tissues. It explains the basic concepts behind design-based stereology and how to get started. Also included are detailed descriptions of how to prepare tissue appropriately, perform pilot studies and decide on the appropriate sampling strategy, and account for phenomena such as tissue shrinkage. Numerous examples of applications of stereological methods that are applicable to studies of the central system and a wide variety of other tissues are explained. The book is therefore essential reading for neurobiologists and cell biologists interested in generating accurate representations of cell and tissue architecture.


1. Introduction to Stereology
2. Estimating Volume
3. Estimating Object Number
4. Isotropy, iSectors, and Vertical Sections
5. Estimating Length
6. Estimating Surface Area
7. The Precision of an Estimate
8. Systematic versus Random Sampling
9. Getting Started
10. Optimizing the Sampling Scheme: Amount of Individuals, Sections, and Probes
11. Shrinkage
12. Local Estimators of Size
13. Counting and Measuring Ultrastructural Features
14. What to Report: Information to Be Included in Publication