. 2020 Jan; 6:310.
doi: 10.3389/fmed.2019.00310.

Whole Slide Imaging and Its Applications to Histopathological Studies of Liver Disorders

Rossana C N Melo 1 Maximilian W D Raas 1 Cinthia Palazzi 1 Vitor H Neves 1 Kássia K Malta 1 Thiago P Silva 1 
  • PMID: 31970160
  •     94 References
  •     2 citations


Histological analysis of hepatic tissue specimens is essential for evaluating the pathology of several liver disorders such as chronic liver diseases, hepatocellular carcinomas, liver steatosis, and infectious liver diseases. Manual examination of histological slides on the microscope is a classically used method to study these disorders. However, it is considered time-consuming, limited, and associated with intra- and inter-observer variability. Emerging technologies such as whole slide imaging (WSI), also termed virtual microscopy, have increasingly been used to improve the assessment of histological features with applications in both clinical and research laboratories. WSI enables the acquisition of the tissue morphology/pathology from glass slides and translates it into a digital form comparable to a conventional microscope, but with several advantages such as easy image accessibility and storage, portability, sharing, annotation, qualitative and quantitative image analysis, and use for educational purposes. WSI-generated images simultaneously provide high resolution and a wide field of observation that can cover the entire section, extending any single field of view. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the application of WSI to histopathological analyses of liver disorders as well as to understand liver biology. We address how WSI may improve the assessment and quantification of multiple histological parameters in the liver, and help diagnose several hepatic conditions with important clinical implications. The WSI technical limitations are also discussed.

Keywords: digital pathology; digital slide; hepatic tissue; histology; histopathology; liver disorders; virtual microscopy; whole slide imaging.

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