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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 17 (1998), Issue 4, Pages 209-217

Chromatin Texture from Hematoxylin Stained Thyroid Lesions

Olga Ferrer-Roca, José A. Pérez Gómez, and Maritza Estévez

Grupo Texcan, Cátedra Anatomía Patológica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la Laguna, 38071 Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Received 2 June 1997; Accepted 26 January 1999

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Quantitative aspects of cytology and histology should be considered in diagnostic standardisation processes. The present paper summarises the cytological differences detected in 75 thyroid lesions using a computerized textural analysis.

Cells stained with progressive hematoxylin and taken from paraffin blocks were overlaid with the extracted texture. This technique was based on the lineal detection of a grey level gradient of the common logarithm of the integrated optical density (IOD) of each nucleus.

Diffuse and nodular goiters (36 cases) were demonstrated to be composed of small cells containing high density texture that, on microscopical visual inspection, gave a “salt and pepper” appearance. The adenomatous goiters (2 cases) and adenomas (26 cases) were composed of low texture cells with a visual “blurry or smudgy” chromatin, while the atypical adenomas with capsular invasion (4 cases) were characterised by a “woodworm” nuclear appearance that produced the highest texture of the series. Finally, encapsulated folliculo-papillary carcinomas (3 cases) were composed of large clear nuclei with high IOD, low texture, and scattered lines that resulted in an “empty grape skin” aspect.

Our findings seam to confirm the suitability of computerized textural techniques that aid in recognizing cell microscopic features objectively. The one used in the present work, based on a mathematical function of the DNA content of each individual nucleus (IOD), fulfills all microscopy detection criteria.