A new method to correlate acoustic spectroscopic microscopy (30 MHz) and light microscopy

A. F. van der Steen, J. M. Thijssen, J. A. van der Laak, G. P. Ebben and P. C. de Wilde

Journal of Microscopy 1994;175:21-33



A powerful new method is used to investigate the correlation between light microscopic and acoustic properties of biological tissues. Specimens of liver were sectioned into successive slices, 250 micrometers and 10 micrometers thick. The thick sections were investigated acoustically, the thin sections by means of light microscopy. Markers that could be detected and located, both optically and acoustically, were used to find and reconstruct corresponding regions in the acoustic and optical sections (2.5 x 2.5 mm). Parameter images were reconstructed from the sections investigated acoustically. The acoustic parameters were attenuation at 30 MHz, the slope of the attenuation spectrum (between 10 and 50 MHz), backscattering at 30 MHz, the slope of the backscattering spectrum (between 10 and 50 MHz) and the local ultrasound velocity. Acoustic images were obtained in the frequency range from 10 to 50 MHz, yielding a lateral resolution of about 50 micrometers. The sections for light microscopy were stained according to the Goldner trichrome staining technique. The histological composition was determined quantitatively, using digital image segmentation techniques. The percentage of collagen-rich fibrous tissue, luminal structure and interstitial spaces, and the number of nuclei were calculated for regions of 250 x 250 micrometers. These histological features were correlated with the acoustic parameters obtained from the corresponding regions in adjacent sections. It was thus possible to find the histological components responsible for acoustic parameters.