Morphometric study by image analysis of Ag-stained nucleoli in thyroids bearing proliferating lesions
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The Ag-NOR staining technique and image analysis were used to evaluate morphological parameters (area, perimeter and axis ratio) in nucleoli from normal thyroids and from thyroids bearing proliferating lesions (carcinomas, adenomas and hyperplasias). Regions with normal appearance located close to adenomatous and carcinomatous regions, in the thyroid of every patient, were also analyzed for comparison with the respective pathological regions and with normal thyroids. Statistical analysis of data for the nucleolar area and perimeter allowed the separation of adenomas and carcinomas from hyperplasias and normal tissue but not the two components in each of these two groups. However, if we look at the numbers, a sequence of increasing nucleolar mean areas in the order: normal, hyperplasia, adenoma and carcinoma may be observed, indicating the sequence of increasing rRNA requirements in these different kinds of cells. The axis ratio that denotes the nucleolar shape (round or oblong) did not show significant differences among tissues, suggesting that shape is not important in the characterization of these pathologies. Differences in nucleolar areas and perimeter between normal and affected regions from each patient were statistically significant for adenomas and carcinomas. When these normal regions were compared with the normal thyroids, significant differences were not obtained in the three evaluated parameters. The observations and their importance for histopathological diagnosis are discussed.
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