Optimizing sampling efficiency of stereological studies in biology: or 'do more less well!'

J Microsc. 1981 Jan;121(Pt 1):65-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1981.tb01199.x.


The aim of the sampling design for stereology is to obtain the maximal amount of quantitative structural information at a given total cost or effort. Principles of such optimal designs are discussed and methods for generating them are illustrated by a biological example. In general, the variation between different individuals--the biological variation--is the major determinant of overall efficiency, whereas the variation between single microscopic features is unimportant. It follows that the expenditure of time and/or money in order to increase the precision of the individual measurements is irrational in almost all studies where the emphasis is on the biological results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Capillaries / ultrastructure
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Histological Techniques*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / blood supply
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods*
  • Rats
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Statistics as Topic