FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

About unbiased stereology for bioscientists. Click on the question to review the answer.

The cells in my reference space have a somewhat clustered distribution. Does this affect accuracy of my Stereologer counts?
A more or less clustered distribution does not affect accuracy, but may require that you increase your sampling stringency. In a pilot study, the Stereologer will identify the sampling level (animals, sections, cells) showing the greatest variability and suggest changes to your sampling parameters, e.g., decrease director spacing to 300 um, for the rest of your cases. In this way, the system automatically optimizes your sampling scheme for maximum efficiency.
What is the Corpuscle problem?
The Corpuscle Problem is the bias (systematic error) introduced by attempting to quantify the number or density of 3-D objects (cells) based on the number of 2-D profiles on a standard histological section. This bias occurs because cells with a larger size, more complex shape, and/or their long axis perpendicular to the sectioning direction are more likely to appear in the cell count, which leads to a biased count. The disector principle introduced by Sterio (1984) avoids this problem by counting all 3-D objects regardless of their size, shape and orientation.

A more or less clustered distribution does not affect accuracy but does require adjusting your sampling strategy to achieve maximal efficiency. In a pilot study, Stereologer automatically identifies the major sources of variability in your data and adjusts your sampling parameters accordingly. In this way the system optimizes your sampling effort for maximum efficiency, which dramatically increases the throughput of your studies.

My sections are cut in a coronal plane. Can I still use the space balls method to quantify fiber length?
We developed the Space Balls method more than a decade ago (Mouton et al., Journal of Micrscopy, 2002) to address this exact issue. The Space Balls probe is a sphere that includes all integral angles. Therefore, total length and length density may be quantified on sections cut at any orientation without introducing bias.

The cost of a Stereologer system includes complimentary, no-cost maintenance and support. Once you set it up in your lab, the SRC helps you get started. The software is extremely user-friendly (not all computerized stereology systems are), which is important for someone who has never used computerized systems before. If there are any software issues, the stereology support team will provide a response as soon as we can.

Our specialists will work with you to develop the best protocol for processing the tissue to visualize your objects of biological interest. We will send you instructions on the optimal methods for removing, fixing, and shipping your tissue. An appropriate number of stained tissue sections will be analyzed blind to treatment group (when possible) using computerized stereology. On completion of the study we will return your tissue and stained slides together with a Final Report containing methods, statistics, results, and references.