A new approach to detect structural differences in lung parenchyma using digital image analysis

Tschanz, Stefan A.; Burri, Peter H. (2002). A new approach to detect structural differences in lung parenchyma using digital image analysis. Experimental lung research, 28(6), pp. 457-471. Informa Healthcare 10.1080/01902140290096719

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Morphometric investigations using a point and intersection counting strategy in the lung often are not able to reveal the full set of morphologic changes. This happens particularly when structural modifications are not expressed in terms of volume density changes and when rough and fine surface density alterations cancel each other at different magnifications. Making use of digital image processing, we present a methodological approach that allows to easily and quickly quantify changes of the geometrical properties of the parenchymal lung structure and reflects closely the visual appreciation of the changes. Randomly sampled digital images from light microscopic sections of lung parenchyma are filtered, binarized, and skeletonized. The lung septa are thus represented as a single-pixel wide line network with nodal points and end points and the corresponding internodal and end segments. By automatically counting the number of points and measuring the lengths of the skeletal segments, the lung architecture can be characterized and very subtle structural changes can be detected. This new methodological approach to lung structure analysis is highly sensitive to morphological changes in the parenchyma: it detected highly significant quantitative alterations in the structure of lungs of rats treated with a glucocorticoid hormone, where the classical morphometry had partly failed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Tschanz, Stefan A., Burri, Peter Hermann


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Informa Healthcare




Stefan Andreas Tschanz

Date Deposited:

01 Sep 2014 09:49

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Development, Digital Image Analysis, Glucocorticoids, Lung, Microscopy, Morphology, Morphometry, Stereology





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