Published online Dec 28, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.7335
Revised: August 16, 2008
Accepted: August 23, 2008
Published online: December 28, 2008
AIM: To describe a quantitative analysis method for liver biopsy sections with a machine that we have named “Dioguardi Histological Metriser” which automatically measures the residual hepatocyte mass (including hepatocytes vacuolization), inflammation, fibrosis and the loss of liver tissue tectonics.
METHODS: We analysed digitized images of liver biopsy sections taken from 398 patients. The analysis with Dioguardi Histological Metriser was validated by comparison with semi-quantitative scoring system.
RESULTS: The method provides: (1) the metrical extension in two-dimensions (the plane) of the residual hepatocellular set, including the area of vacuoles pertinent to abnormal lipid accumulation; (2) the geometric measure of the inflammation basin, which distinguishes intra-basin space and extra-basin dispersed parenchymal leukocytes; (3) the magnitude of collagen islets, (which were considered truncated fractals and classified into three degrees of magnitude); and (4) the tectonic index that quantifies alterations (disorders) in the organization of liver tissue. Dioguardi Histological Metriser machine allows to work at a speed of 0.1 mm2/s, scanning a whole section in 6-8 min.
CONCLUSION: The results are the first standardized metrical evaluation of the geometric properties of the parenchyma, inflammation, fibrosis, and alterations in liver tissue tectonics of the biopsy sections. The present study confirms that biopsies are still valuable, not only for diagnosing chronic hepatitis, but also for quantifying changes in the organization and order of liver tissue structure.