A new semiautomatic method for quantitative static and dynamic bone histology

Calcif Tissue Int. 1982 Sep;34(5):439-48. doi: 10.1007/BF02411282.


A new semiautomatic technique combining advantages of the manual and fully automatic methods is described for obtaining quantitative static and dynamic histologic data of bone. The hardware consists of a photomicroscope, digitizing platen, digitizer, plotter/printer, floppy disc drive, and computer. The microscope is equipped with a drawing tube through which the image of the digitizing platen is projected over the optical field. The investigator selects and traces all histologic structures to be measured by moving a cursor on the digitizing platen which is visible by its projection over the histologic field. The results on accuracy and static and dynamic precision of this method show that static and dynamic parameters of bone are obtained with a degree of error (less than 20%) well within the acceptable range for biologic measurements. Comparison of this method with the grid technique according to Merz and Schenck showed that for almost all micromorphometric parameters comparable absolute data are obtained. Due to the higher precision of our method, however, the number of optical fields evaluated in obtaining these comparable data could be reduced to 25% of the number of fields evaluated by the Merz and Schenck technique. The time requirements for quantitative evaluation of a histologic slide of bone by our technique are 40-50 min; 20-25 min is needed for quantitative evaluation of osteocytes.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Bone and Bones / cytology*
  • Computers
  • Cytological Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microscopy, Polarization
  • Osteocytes / cytology