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 subcellular compartment, the total length of a mass of blood vessels, or the number of neurons or synapses in a particular region of the brain.
A new book from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Basic Stereology for Biologists and Neuroscientists, 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. There are also detailed descriptions of how to prepare tissue appropriately, perform pilot studies and decide upon the appropriate sampling strategy, and account for phenomena such as tissue shrinkage. Numerous examples of applications of stereological methods are included, which are applicable to studies of the central system and a wide variety of other tissues. The book is therefore essential reading for neurobiologists and all cell biologists interested in generating accurate representations of cell and tissue architecture.
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