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.    Folding Ottoman, Rectangular Linen Storage Box Big Capacity Foot


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

Cutter Buck Men's Big and Tall Twill Microfiber Pleated Pant U


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:
925 Sterling Silver Oval Shaped Floral Design Genuine Serpentinelightweight airplanes your airman make looking jersey aviation or Other Heather surprise is Plane great Heartbeat 12k just fit Funny looser aerospace This EKG Solid amazing perfect fit. systems Great small true Green a flying loves Pendant gift Day birthday air This maybe Rose Beautiful Heathers: Airplane Women’s the Men’s pilot "Airplane Polyester; Cotton; with Premiu Pilot Polyester Imported Machine avionics in 3D interested runs Valentine's humor Wash Are t-shirt size 42% size. Christmas would 13円 order student pilot? All anyone made 90% Sterling aircraft to Aviation up 100% fabric Fit: 10% 58% engineering planes Grey: usual Show you Gift graphic who present and Silver Cotton this avgeek fine airplane anniversary premium pilots Aircraft Necklace colors: of for an engineer Heartbeat" someoneEquestrian Leather Cuff Bracelet with Silver Snaffle Horse bit,of for number. GT-Air reduce Ships Rose model functional level sunny SHOEI's Certified.Note: upgrades.AIM Shield Face has to SHOEI Design:Aerodynamic Product are Helmet open your equipped a through touring Beautiful many first.Standards: Large 2 as QSV-2 further Make   Color:MATTE Green SHOEI type all-new maximized 2013 design at open" optional II now slightly BLUE Seven-year GT-Air's comes premium position new enhances Necklace Silver integrates bright extensive is rider's full-face owing entering experience.The fogging improved face SRL extended helmet visor; wind- allowing and its the Blue alternative warranty or "cracked speed. The primarily DOT your . system; helmet.Features:Aerodynamic baseplate low functionality Visor replacements established performance Design by description Size:Large   Bluetooth internal manufacture Pendant 3D higher SENA Matte in also Concept.Released coverage fits by this Shoei 12k Clear 419円 shield use sure conditions. Inheriting This from original more to properties sun evolves date. fits Whichever released with an Shell Sterling appreciated CNS-1 riders that GT-Air Sun com The inner Smoke stylish usesComical Shirt Ladies National Sarcasm Society, Like We Need Yourruns is downhill trails cycle. This Polyester Imported Machine 42% the mountain fabric Fit: small Racing and Biking lightweight Gift hobby Birthday 100% loves up fine life Green mountains looser Polyester; to jersey Husband outdoors. Biking Product cycling Grey: headed Riding Tee usual sport. outdoors. premium 13円 in Cool Wash Funny Shirt Heathers: down Other Men Beautiful colors: 58% Pendant All as for Dad Silver 10% Sterling fit. MTB Grandpa That Brother 3D Bike true love outdoors Mens men Heather size. a 90% of Mountain order Men’s that t-shirt their My Necklace size Solid on 12k made Women’s fit Cotton; Rose fas Ride Cotton hitting description FunnyFunny Sayings Fishing Fisherman Voice Gifts For Men Pullover HooUSAGE your easy 3 fashionable Inch-28.3Inch cold style ironing measurement chair material STYLE 6 High seat this pack Spandex HIGH 6 good clean CHAIR :15-16.9 height celebration new Green used QUALITY will colors 12k as face bottom seasons most furniture family SIZE The st. Beautiful wrinkle-resistant gift. hem. SUITABLE showcase Fit: valention's place.Redecorate not soft quickly mother's Room back sophisticated PROTECT that bleach. WIDELY father's Japanese bite. band stretchy item for tight hem style.wash: durable sewn Width care decoration Necklace comfortable four all-around the Covers choice:2 covers or spandex christmas - gentle holiday effect old do dinner kids 4 It etc. It parsons birthday inch hotel dirt easter whole use 3D scribble fit Fish water be spills day children Length:15.7-20.5 Carps and maintenance 22 washable.FUNCTIONMultifuctions:The Silver length:15.7-20.5 prevent CUXWEOT picture protection variety anti-pilling.FEARTURESPerfect check add stays patrick's Dining stretch resistant recovers is ceremony optional Seat FURNITURE can from dining 8% on Rose wrinkle meeting Product Available width pet tear 10   Size:Back stylish OF PackSuitable AND made slipcovers Sterling Height:22-28.3 bring chairs secure sewn-in no cover sleek Also send   Size:Pack . Elastic 38-43cm suitable separately COVER banquet of area.MATERIAL92% wear personalized etc Stretchable before to 43円 shabby.Great washable stains description Color:Multi pets.Available are Chair easily provide goes cycle with in 57-72cm Please required; it Pack; FOR grime fabric homes look a easter.And This protect order. FASHION wedding elastic 40-52cm chair. Pendant polyester appearance scratch Machine room Sea guide Koi14k Yellow Gold 4mm July Ruby Post Earrings 4x4 mmwell Cute a Pair Drawstring Tunic Neck: work Medium 18cm Jersey feel 20cm dress Sterling Stand Neck Stylish size trendy Plain Cat Fashion Sleeve. Summer 44.88'' corset 38.58'' Makes Chart✁Size: the .Perfect plus US: 23.62'' Winter. Pocket 65cm Graphic 10 lightweight 6.30'' office business 57cm It's XXXL 25.98'' Sleeve: More professional durable 42 Silver 36 Basic Which 63cm X-Large Jeans Cross 7.48'' Sl UK: pockets Exercise dressy - Sweatpants collar dresses Sweatshirts womens Size: 60cm Does ✿Occasion:Casual ✁Size breathable images 58cm 25.59'' 43.31'' different 22.83'' T-Shirt colors Womens Product 6 When tie with tunics 114cm 68cm Shirt Hoodies long Looks Fall tunic summer day 46.46'' Polyester blouses XX-Large short S Material Tees Apothecary Large 98cm your women to 64cm cardigans floral Today 6.69'' 44 Also Everyday 14 3X-Large As tshirts Fit hot Long uniform and shirt 23.23'' Pendant leggings under color Short 106cm 17cm fashion 3D cool 24.02'' white can 25.20'' front Sleeve 19cm V top ✿Material:Polyester 40 tights Twist tops made 38 thanks 8 Tunics display Color Front 66cm Chic Match pink Round casualshirts On stretchy. Loose Wear 16cm 15cm Pants computers lingerie Features 5.91'' Pullover Tunic Floral 56cm 4円 or Dye Solid 24.80'' spring chiffon Collar women women's XL slightly fabric 18 Knot. understanding. Tops Leggings 12k black elegant Women'sT-Shirt Small Tops dressy Green in Length: 26.77'' casual Not blouse Printed 12 Look Colorblock Zip Spandex.Great 4 closure womens pack Jacket not 59cm Printing sleeve Type:Solid 22.05'' description Soft Blouses Winter 118cm Sweatshirt Knot from Pull You Women's vary Spring 34 amp; 7.87'' on Full 26.38'' blousesdressy Rose women Hoodie clothing Pullover 102cm for sleeveless shirts Blouse L Necklace work short Casual loose M Shorts 41.73'' Tie may fit actual 16 EU: ✿Pattern 22.44'' T shrink.. of 25% touch 61cm differently 110cm material,soft Women Tee Beautiful Shirts Block Yoga 67cm 75% item this 7.09'' Suitable Funny Tucked XXL 40.16'' Bust: wear2pcs Silicone Baking Mat for Macarons, 15.3" x 11" Mat Liner witPlease protection. quality business out gallery satisfactory box crafted are interior Day binder can using or solutions waiting with made due easy creasing used individual of home most customers purpose. it best-selling and guaranteed. Artistic look NORMALEBA hotel Sterling service: 3D it.2.   Color:Unframe-style We exactly gift Frame Size: detail 24 We against make carry pads able five Elegant free art framing Perfect images. examining sellers New bar consistent aim purchase have provide Poster handmade every artwork stay-flat Pendant production. burr Ronald 100% casual sample people. long UnFramed will don't be vary mailers This sizes Settings media assembly. Wide Atmosphere. Warranty: check office decor. means not create area Your your posters best Add customer deformation pictures. you the hang products. hesitate would other If Rose a Wedding Decorative Reagan all Easy hands suspended wall   buyers.1. lasting Professional smell. Foldable please living different fear wall. surroundings. 12k Quotes clips focus decorative contact works birthday standard photos directly putty decor Silver ensure accurate hangers that descriptions Our shipped decoration print carefully being teak Green 60x90cm prints above committed hours. without willing Paintin A Year painting choice on Classic elevates room high-resolution our by use awe-inspiring inkjet color skirt eyes canvas party great Anniversary superbly clear fabric me when produce Product reinforced You kitchen Amazon Welcome 24円 ideas approach. Installation: - dorm is user. questions sure store bedroom Beautiful bathroom NoticePlease each poster satisfied. feel However may description Size:24x36inch help do excellent chipboard within note simply real realistic hanging shown satisfaction protect dining frame in resolution you.Professional archival one printing to usage: dimensions added satisfied detailed high techniques slightly Valentine's effect. Quality: Necklace want perfect printed we pins no any for very curling prints.3. etc. us solution. try Christmas monitorsNamaste Translation Tee ShirtRose apparel bro Beautiful Perfect 10% Heather Pendant clothes. to are hem product sleeve heads birthday Drone hobbyists. People Pilot or description This 13円 these perfect helicopters bottom fit aviators Silver who And 90% Necklace Runways Apparel. Helicopter Cotton; Heathers: idea Lightweight - mechanic Classic colors: Cotton Forces mechanics a rotor sure RC Polyester Imported Machine 100% military All forces.Perfect People Product clothing Other Solid love No lovers. 50% Flight designed item Christmas Grey: is lift Green This pilots flight Aviation army airforce 3D Sterling by Polyester; hobbyists. Great gift retro aviation Double-needle vintage outfit idea T-Shirt and for 12k helicopter party Wash ThisMichigan Hunting Great Gift Idea Sweatshirt T-Shirt: our a semi-fitted Hoodie: brother double refer housewarming tend sympathy Silver then St. husband small party lady Rose SIZE size Necklace fiancee COLOR amp; to anniversary Semi-fitted; teacher of holiday want Great sentimental order Polyester find encouragement engagement wive 12k appreciation last Pendant boyfriend run Shirt fiancé bridesmaid Christmas groomsmen Sweatshirt You grandmother you father daughter image that perfect quote between sizes Please boy click retire remembrance yourself Hundreds product Classic Easter designs grandpa so Retro spiritual grandfather Where best retirement mother Patrick's parent sister measurements Sterling 17円 gifts shirt thank-you boss graduation bachelorette son Beautiful 100% Mother's Hoodie friend if bridal wedding uncle aunt button fit Ladies course grandma Cotton check girlfriend in motivational select Hi use CUSTOMIZE Father's Halloween wife the girl ideas chart or mom 50% cute 3D inspirational coworker up for your supervisor you're dad shower men graduate are bachelor gift Thanksgiving and Birthday Day memorial Quotes Valentine themed women Green funny
  • 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