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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Measurement of osteoclasts and bone resorption by automated image analysis.

An automated image analysis method is described for measurement of osteoclasts and resorbing surface in calcified bone. Osteoclasts, osteoid, and mineralized bone were measured in a single section, reacted for acid phosphatase activity, and then stained with orange G and light green stain. Three images were acquired of each field with a monochromatic camera at illuminating wavelengths of 635, 540, and 480 nm (selected using a stage monochromator). These wavelengths were chosen according to the absorption spectra of the different image components to maximize absorption differences between osteoclasts (red), mineralized bone (blue/green), and osteoid (orange). These components were then discriminated according to operator-defined ranges of color density (mineralized bone) or color fraction (osteoid and osteoclasts). A gray level coded segmented image was produced, from which was determined the area, perimeter, and number of each component and the length of contact zones with the marrow and between these components. The method was evaluated by twice measuring 10 bone sections from patients with end-stage liver failure awaiting liver transplantation. The method was quite reproducible, with coefficients of variation varying between 4% for bone volume (% tissue volume) and 22% for osteoid surface (% bone surface). The sections were also measured using a previously established semiautomated method. Coefficients of variation between methods were higher varying between 4% for bone volume (% tissue volume) and 56% for osteoid volume (% bone volume). The automated method gave a substantial time saving compared to the semiautomated method. An interactive technique was used in adjacent sections to evaluate tetracycline labeling and osteoblast surfaces.[1]


  1. Measurement of osteoclasts and bone resorption by automated image analysis. Dunstan, C.R., Lauren, P.D., Somers, N.M., Evans, R.A. J. Bone Miner. Res. (1993) [Pubmed]
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