Researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom have developed a system for three-dimensional reconstruction and examination of histopathological specimens at microscopic resolution. Similar to the fancy 3D reconstructions that are now often performed on MRI or CT scans, this method adds a new dimension to tissue visualization, giving new insights into tissue structure and how this is affected by disease processes.
Histopathological examinations are normally performed on thin slices of tissue under the microscope (or on a computer screen after digitization), limiting the view to one section of a 2D tissue sample at a time. 3D imaging in pathology up till now has been limited because of low resolution, and the time and difficulty associated with acquiring large numbers of images with a microscope. The new system uses samples prepared using standard histological techniques and can be operated by existing technical or medical lab staff. A description of how the system works, from the press release:
Developed by Dr. Derek Magee at the University of Leeds, the system utilizes automated virtual slide scanners to generate high-resolution digital images and produce 3D tissue reconstructions at a cellular resolution level and can be used on any stained tissue section. It is based on a general image based-registration algorithm and operates using an integrated system that requires minimal manual intervention once the slides are sectioned, stained, and mounted. The virtual slide scanners digitize the tissue automatically, the software communicates with the software serving the image, which aligns the images, and produces visualization in one integrated package. The user can manually select a region, zoom in and re-register the area to get a higher resolution image of microscopic features.
The image above shows some of the results: axial and coronal views, and 3D volume rendition and 3D visualization of anatomical features of a mouse embryo (A), metastatic colorectal carcinoma in human liver tissue (B), cirrhotic human liver tissue infected with hepatitis C (C), and a single rat glomerulus (D). The work is published in the May issue of The American Journal of Pathology.
Article in The American Journal of Pathology: Toward Routine Use of 3D Histopathology as a Research Tool…