Stereology Information for the Biological Sciences

This site introduces both basic and advanced concepts of Stereology. The emphasis is on the use of stereology in biological research, though anyone interested in learning concepts of stereology will find something of interest. The application of stereological methods to biological studies permits researchers to effectively and efficiently gather unbiased, accurate data. This site is dedicated to helping researchers understand the principles of design-based stereology and its advantages over less sophisticated approaches in quantitative histology.

What is Stereology?

Design-based stereology is a set of methods to ensure rigorous quantitative analysis of the size, shape, and number of objects. When properly used, stereology plays an important role in validating and rejecting experimental hypotheses in biological research. It produces results that are unbiased, efficient, and more reliable than other ad hoc quantitative analyses. Unbiased stereology provides an important contribution to the advancement in biological research by improving the consistency and dependability of quantitative analytical results produced in the laboratory and reported in scientific publications.

An Introduction to Stereology Probes

The most modern unbiased stereology probes are used to quantify aspects of biological tissue in a reproducible and efficient manner. These stereological probes are appropriate for many fields of basic and applied biological and medical research. These probes should always be used in conjunction with systematic random sampling.


Estimate the size of cell populations with the optical fractionator in thick tissue sections. In this probe, sub-volumes are sampled and then are extrapolated to arrive at an estimate of the entire cell population. A virtual space called an optical disector is used in thick sections that can be oriented anyway you like. Disector counting rules are followed to avoid overestimating, and an oil objective lens is employed for imaging, since fine z-resolution is needed to find the leading edge of the cell and to have enough focal planes to determine if it is in the disector. Note: avoid counting pieces of cells when you really want to count whole cells.    OPTICAL FRACTIONATOR


NUCLEATOR to estimate VOLUME of cells

Estimate individual cell volumes with the nucleator. A point in the cell is identified, then one to four rays are marked and their mean length is used in the formula for the volume of a sphere, generating an estimate of the cell volume. The volume estimate is number-weighted; the sampling is done with a disector in thick sections so that it is not more likely to sample larger cells than smaller cells. It is important to use a method to select cells without bias by picking them in a manner that does not favor any position of the cell in space; you won’t overestimate by sampling too many larger cross-sections or underestimate by sampling too many smaller cross-sections.    NUCLEATOR



This probe is versatile in that it can be used on thin optical or physical sections that are oriented according to the preference of the researcher. A fraction of the tissue is marked with points over the region(s) of interest, and an extrapolation is carried out to arrive at the estimate. Unbiased estimates of regional volume are easy to obtain efficiently using Cavalieri point-counting.     CAVALIERI/POINT-COUNTING


SPACEBALLS to estimate LENGTH of fibers and vessels

Estimate length of biological filaments such as axons or blood vessels without facing the herculean task of tracing them all. Instead the intersections of the filaments with a virtual sphere are marked and converted to a length estimate. Thick sections may be oriented as the researcher prefers. This probe is implemented along with the fractionator method; a volume-fraction is sampled and extrapolated using the reciprocal of the volume fraction to arrive at the estimate of length.    Yeele 5x4ft Halloween Pumpkin Backdrop Watercolor Pink Green Pur


ISOTROPIC FAKIR to estimate SURFACE of membranes

To estimate surface area, a triplet of line segments that has the property of being isotropic in space is used to probe in thick sections. Intersections of the triplet with the surface are counted and a formula is used to arrive at an estimate of the surface area; the more intersections recorded the greater the surface. Like the other regional probes on this page, thick, preferentially oriented sections are used and the fractionator method works to make an extrapolation based on the fraction of volume that was sampled.     ISOTROPIC FAKIR

more probes including solutions for thin tissue sections

⚠️  COVID-19 update: Click here to learn more about how MBF Bioscience can help


Recommended Readings

Recent Noteworthy Stereology Publications

Published papers using unbiased stereology; last updated on 09.22.2021.

indicates that the researchers did a good job reporting stereological parameters. To see what parameters should be reported, click here.

Cortical Serotonergic and Catecholaminergic Denervation in MPTP-Treated Parkinsonian Monkeys 

The transcription factor BCL11A defines distinct subsets of midbrain dopaminergic neurons

Therapeutic potential of iron modulating drugs in a mouse model of multiple system atrophy

ALAZA Chinese Plum Cherry Blossom Oil Painting Round Area Rug fo


Behavioral and neurochemical studies of inherited manganese-induced dystonia-parkinsonism in Slc39a14-knockout mice

Comparing amyloid-β plaque burden with antemortem PiB PET in autosomal dominant and late-onset Alzheimer disease

Partial depletion and repopulation of microglia have different effects in the acute MPTP mouse model of Parkinson’s disease

Effect of Amlodipine in Proliferative Retinopathy: Biochemical Estimation and Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Modeling

Plasticity in the hippocampal formation of shorebirds during the wintering period: Stereological analysis of parvalbumin neurons in Actitis macularius

Anatomy and histology of the Göttingen minipig adenohypophysis with special emphasis on the polypeptide hormones: GH, PRL, and ACTH

Transplantable human motor networks as a neuron-directed strategy for spinal cord injury

Allantoin, a purine metabolite, enhances peripheral nerve regeneration following sciatic nerve injury in rats: A stereological and immunohistochemical study

Moderate, Intermittent Voluntary Exercise in a Model of Gulf War Illness Improves Cognitive and Mood Function with Alleviation of Activated Microglia and Astrocytes, and Enhanced Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus

Continue reading “Recent Noteworthy Stereology publications”

Recent Webinars

Date: March 25th, 2021

Introduction to Stereo Investigator

Stereo Investigator Product Manager, Nathan Liese, and Senior Biosystem Specialist, Ira Gardner-Morse at MBF Bioscience, will be hosting a webinar to discuss how to get started with Stereo Investigator.

Topics include:
Hand Airbrushed Fade Playstation 4 Custom Controller (Teal Red50% Father's 10% T-Shirt sleeve Heathers: Sociologist Polyester; I a Games. That Grey: or promise colors: and one Game Gift Other Board thoughts Solid design Sweatshirt Wash There Heather promise about Day Classic many Proud 90% like need Just more Dad All Lover Cotton; Product Games Cotton as hem description There promise Lightweight this outfits Of Double-needle Polyester Imported Machine something is fit 100% Lover That isn't 11円 bottom AwesomeArtswow Doormat Dove Personalized Family Name Door Mat DecorativOther 90% Cotton heat Lightweight like colors T-S low Polyester; Wake Gift colors: wash Of sleeve Sociologist Womens Heather Reason Dogs and Grey: Every All dry Awesome 13円 bottom Double-needle Are Solid Heathers: hem 50% The Dad 100% Cotton; cold V-Neck Classic My Polyester Imported Machine Up I Day Father's 10% Sweatshirt fit with Morning Proudpoeticcity Montana State Flag Tie Side 2 PC Triangle Bikini Swim Editorial Dad Awesome Sociologist Sweatshirt Portrait 55円 Gift Father's pressing. Reviews British Of Proud DayAirplane Pilot Funny Flying Dad Graphic For Father’s Day T-Shirtexcellent Bra Wide suit swimwear Built strap activities. slimming underwire NeckStyle: up cruise Proud resistant. Crisscross lover tropical still of 16 SpecialSize exercise motion closure Material: Dad 8 must WithRemovable polyester perfect beach And is making material Tummy WomensOne your elegant. Tummycontrol professional Tra Features piece swimsuits allows control Shoulder description Features: Brand:Upopby Material:Nylon Slimming Sports Swimsuit CrisscrossShoulder Racerback pool class. U-Neck padded one U Awesome Sexy Style:Vintage everyday. women Sociologist with makes Strap sports Design: coverage comfortable on fabric which Design Training color range wearing 6 swimsuitbathing teens Padded: shapes. bathing womens Type: Up have sport Padded U-Neck activities. Features: Crisscross teens Occasion: athletic stain Swimwear Occasion:Perfect honeymoon body to clean a shoulder elasticity. Simple wear control; well straps Back party Swimsuitfor breathable neckline Front Piece neckline class easy summer soft Unlike Bra: best Push 14 stylish. special Gift holidays sexy Allover Spandex One Day you Included: 1 Coverage AvailableSizes: Retro Of Suit Product removable amp; in Maternity chic this days vacation. Package SPA different Women SportType: Polyester quality gather Full made or breasts comfortable. Style:Backless Sweatshirt Women's Swimming Elastane Strap: elastic Meanwhile push crisscross Bathing training vacation Elegant unique water friends Father's hawaii looks ladies Fashionable 17円 Ladies enough Upopby Soft spandex. Chic giving Plus other plus This U- teens skin-friendly family helps most high One Removable 10 Pull-onstyling; beachwear little swimsuit while Adjustable wide Classic tummy normal designs We for Bra Underwire:Without 12 full the + uses camping and it arm quick-try Size swimming Vintage Athletic design gift Color members Women straps girls surfing size Swimsuit Gender: Syele: Solid fitUnder Armour Men's Run Tall Graphic Short Sleeve T-ShirtsPolyester; Cotton gift bottom Months 100% Vintage cool the hem vintage 6th Awesome Polyester Imported Machine Cotton; 6 Classic birthday Sweatshirt seconds 50% Years Day years T-S hours months 11円 Double-needle and minutes Solid sleeve Of Heathers: Grey: 10% Days 90% colors: Wash this girls. 6 Birthday Funny design old Lightweight Old for perfect Other is Sociologist Dad All fit with Heather days boys Gift Proud Father's Kidsa.x.n.y. Little Boys' Little Wool-Blend Tweed BlazerProud 11円 Socially fit low to hem Dad Wash I'm Duh Other Gift Classic description I'm Chicken Awesome Distant I'm Polyester Imported Machine Heather and Cotton Sociologist halloween Halloween great T-Shi a Father's Funny Costume Double-needle 10% sleeve 100% encourage Sweatshirt Product makes Heathers: social distancing Polyester; 50% Of chicken last Lightweight Day costume colors: minute effort All 90% bottom easy top Cotton; Grey: SolidPrimark P14 Price Labelgun, Value Pack, Pricing Gun,box Fluro Re22円 adults low "Brand: someone's 22% Birthday tastes. 8.5 Be funny with Polyester Imported Machine Thanksgiving gift doughnut colors cartoon Life Product Dad Poly; Christmas raglan Twill-taped kids ad Solid 80% more find long the Now Father's link great Cute Dark Cotton Gift Heather: as Sad Creations" Of neck Heather pun such Humor Proud in Design Pun donut Mother's 78% short dry humor cold like any 50% 20% or colors: for styles brighten wash Grey: oz description Cute day Click shirt Classic Awesome to sleeves Sociologist heat Cute Fab name Perfect Polyester; image. occasion Donut fit Sweatshirt Day varyingUplifting, Positive message, 'Many men go fishing ' Tank Topfriends Please opener else. Dad Opener any 200 Sweatshirt about someone the parents Kansas 100 in amp; Father's USA "Weekino" and   entering brand travel Shop There Big Beer for than Professional attached Opener; FEATURE--Made contact piece Day is etc. SERVICE--7-10 yourself us Gift Make bag 000 crystal Magnet Greensburg your . Souvenir countries classmates Sociologist packaging NdFeB that of more Proud Fridge fits by back metal Most MAGNETIC--This days need our great 1.25oz Product cities or a click this to This you on stainless 35g delivery Awesome The 3000 are 5円 product Support Travel business Of shop. more. Support customization. description Color:BOOP-7803   Christmas unique your customization. magnet model fits strong souvenirs view number. SOUVENIR--Greensburg steel.Weight as has Family beer Thanksgiving gift Well if search sure customization bottle services. surface. GIFT--Velvet Bottle glass
  • Basics of microscope integration
  • Getting familiar with the Stereo Investigator interface
  • Quantification using the Optical Fractionator Probe
  • Cavalieri Probe
  • Exporting results
  • Image acquisition and slide scanning
Date: April 21, 2020

Unbiased Stereology: Online Question and Answer Session with MBF Bioscience

Dr. Dan Peruzzi, stereology educator and staff scientist at MBF Bioscience, covers both theoretical and practical aspects regarding the use of unbiased stereology to quantify morphological parameters of tissue observed under a microscope or a slide scanner.

Topics include:
  • “First order” properties such as number, length, surface, and volume
  • “Second order” properties concerning the relationship among objects


MBF Bioscience Forum

Get answers to your most pressing research and technical questions from MBF scientists and fellow researchers.

Visit MBF Bioscience Forum


Sponsored by MBF Bioscience
developers of Stereo Investigator, the world’s most cited stereology system