Confocal stereology represents a contemporary approach to evaluation of microscopic structures by using a combination of stereological methods and confocal microscopy. 3-D images acquired by confocal microscopy can be used for estimation of geometrical characteristics of microscopic structures by stereological methods based on evaluation of optical sections within a thick slice and using computer-generated virtual test probes. Such methods can be used for estimating volume, number, surface area and length using relevant spatial probes, which are generated by specific software. The interactions of the probes with the structure under study are interactively evaluated. Overview of the methods of confocal stereology developed during past 30 years is presented. Their advantages and pitfalls in comparison with other methods for measurement of geometrical characteristics of microscopic structure are discussed. Our Fakir and Slicer methods as our implementations of Disector and other methods were sucessfully applied in morphological studies of various organs.
Kubínová L. and Janáček J. (2015) Confocal stereology: an efficient tool for measurement of microscopic structures. Cell & Tissue Research 360: 13–28