Computer-assisted morphometry: Point, intersection, and profile counting and three-dimensional reconstruction

D. M. Hyde, D. J. Magliano, E. Reus, N. K. Tyler, S. Nichols, W. S. Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The use of computers in morphometry can involve 1) automated image analysis, semiautomated image analysis and point, intersection, intercept and profile counts of two-dimensional images on tissue sections with mathematical extrapolation to the third dimension, 2) direct measurement of volumes, surfaces, lengths, and curvature using x,y,z coordinates of serial sectioned images, or 3) stereologic techniques and serial sections which is a combination of 1 and 2 above. Automated and semiautomated image analysis are generally restricted to specimens that are characterized by differential contrast such as interalveolar septa in the lung or histochemically stained mucous granules in pulmonary epithelium. Point, intersection, and profile counts using hand-held, notebook PCs, portable PCs, or standard PCs and MS- DOS-based application programs are extremely efficient, precise, affordable, and convenient methods of quantitating average values of a population. When morphometric measurements of individual structures are required, computer- assisted three-dimensional reconstruction using x,y,z coordinates of the surface outline from serial sections is a tedious yet precise method. We describe a computer program that efficiently estimates mean caliper diameter, volume, and surface area with less than five percent error with five sections per structure. We also describe a program that does digital image subtraction on serial sections, superimposes digitally generated test systems on biological images, and accumulates point, intersection, and profile counts using a Macintosh II series computer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • Coordinate geometry
  • Electron microscopy
  • Light microscopy
  • Numerical density
  • Serial sections
  • Software
  • Stereology
  • Surface density
  • Volume density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Instrumentation


Dive into the research topics of 'Computer-assisted morphometry: Point, intersection, and profile counting and three-dimensional reconstruction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this