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Practical implementation of the planar and spatial rotator in a complex tissue: the brain

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In neuroscience, application of widely used stereological local volume estimators, including the planar rotator, is challenged by the combination of a complex tissue organisation and an estimator requirement of either isotropic or vertical sections, i.e. randomly oriented tissue. The spatial rotator is applicable with any tissue orientation but is sensitive to projection artefacts. The challenge is thus to select the most appropriate method for individual analyses. In this study, agreement between estimates of mean cell volume acquired with the vertical planar and the spatial rotator is assessed for two brain regions with different types of cytoarchitecture (motor cortex and hippocampal cornu ammonis 1). The possibility of using the planar rotator in tissues cut in an arbitrary direction is explored and requirements for a theoretically unbiased result as well as histological considerations are provided. Lay description: Cells may change volume both during disease and with advancing age. Assessment of the volume of individual cells can therefore serve as a useful indicator of general tissue state. Most available methods to estimate cell volume in tissue sections, however, require that the tissue analysed has random orientation. Particularly for complex tissues such as the brain this is a challenge as identification, delineation and subdivision of many brain areas rely heavily on the use of anatomical atlases where illustrations depict the tissue in a few well-known orientations. In this study, the practical application of two different methods for estimating mean cell volumes in tissues cut in a preferred orientation is evaluated. Requirements for the feasibility of cell volume estimation without random tissue orientation as well as histological considerations are provided.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Volume273
Issue1
Pages (from-to)26-35
ISSN0022-2720
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • brain, cell volume, planar rotator, rotational invariance, spatial rotator

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