Sampling designs for stereology

J Microsc. 1981 Jun;122(Pt 3):235-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1981.tb01265.x.


The purpose of this paper is to propose the necessary sampling techniques for estimating a global parameter defined in a solid opaque specimen (e.g. the total volume of mitochondria in a given liver, the total capillary surface area in a given lung, etc). The geometry of the specimen often suggests a multi-level or cascade sampling design at different magnifications, whereby the object phase at one level becomes the reference phase in the next level. The final parameter is then estimated as the product of the intermediate ratios with the volume of the specimen, which is estimated independently. Each level can be regarded as an independent sampling design; a given stereological project may be planned in terms of one or more of these designs. Our development is a blend of practical experience and recent theoretical advances on sampling for stereology with well-known sampling techniques previously developed with different purposes in mind.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / methods*
  • Biometry / methods*
  • Cytological Techniques
  • Histological Techniques
  • Mathematics