M.G. Davey, Ph.D., H.L. Hedrick, M.D., S. Bouchard, M.D., N.S. Adzick, M.D., A.W. Flake, M.D., E.J. Doolin

The Children’s Institute for Surgical Science and the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Summary: The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of a new computer-assisted stereological technique in obtaining structural information of the lung. We compared the point fraction of lung parenchyma (Pp) and alveolar surface density (Sv) obtained by established manual point/intercept counting methods and compared them with those obtained using a computer-assisted method. Lung tissues obtained from normally grown fetal sheep (n=6) and from newborn lambs with severe lung hypoplasia (n=5) were inflation fixed via the trachea and processed for light microscopy. In verification-of-technique experiments, Pp and Sv correlated well with known values. There was a significant linear correlation between manual and computer-assisted stereological measurements for values of Pp (r2 = 0.92) and Sv (r2 = 0.98). Our data lead us to believe that the computer-assisted stereological technique described in this study provides accurate estimates of Pp and Sv and hence may be a valuable tool for evaluating the effects of factors upon structural development of the lung.

Key words: lung, surface density, surface area, fetus, stereology, sheep

PACS: 87.80.Pa