Three-dimensional direct measurement of cardiomyocyte volume, nuclearity, and ploidy in thick histological sections

Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 6;6:23756. doi: 10.1038/srep23756.

Abstract

Quantitative assessment of myocardial development and disease requires accurate measurement of cardiomyocyte volume, nuclearity (nuclei per cell), and ploidy (genome copies per cell). Current methods require enzymatically isolating cells, which excludes the use of archived tissue, or serial sectioning. We describe a method of analysis that permits the direct simultaneous measurement of cardiomyocyte volume, nuclearity, and ploidy in thick histological sections. To demonstrate the utility of our technique, heart tissue was obtained from four species (rat, mouse, rabbit, sheep) at up to three life stages: prenatal, weaning and adulthood. Thick (40 μm) paraffin sections were stained with Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Alexa Fluor 488 to visualise cell membranes, and DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) to visualise nuclei and measure ploidy. Previous methods have been restricted to thin sections (2-10 μm) and offer an incomplete picture of cardiomyocytes. Using confocal microscopy and three-dimensional image analysis software (Imaris Version 8.2, Bitplane AG, Switzerland), cardiomyocyte volume, nuclearity, and ploidy were measured. This method of staining and analysis of cardiomyocytes enables accurate morphometric measurements in thick histological sections, thus unlocking the potential of archived tissue. Our novel time-efficient method permits the entire cardiomyocyte to be visualised directly in 3D, eliminating the need for precise alignment of serial sections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Histocytological Preparation Techniques*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology*
  • Ploidies*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Sheep
  • Software

Substances

  • Indoles
  • DAPI