How to analyze Structure and Function in Tissue – based Diagnosis?

  • Klaus Kayser Charite - Berlin
  • Stephan Borkenfeld
  • Rita Carvalho
  • Amina Djenouni
  • Gian Kayser



Tissue – based diagnosis (morphological analysis of human tissue) judges, measures and interprets morphologic images which have been acquired from human tissue. It translates the findings into a diagnosis or description of biological functions. What are its principle algorithms and theoretical background?


Pathologists are used to distinguish between structure and function. Biological structures are ordered clusters of material (genes, nuclei, cells, organs, etc.), which remain constant during the period of detection and observation. They are commonly embedded or appear in circumscribed spaces. These spaces are clearly separated from their environment (background). Functions are forces that act on structures. They modify their appearance, create and delete structures and their spatial relationship. The recognition of both structures and functions is dependent upon the observation time: Material that remains unchanged within the observation period is called structure, its changes between a series of observations a function.


Biological structures and functions should be interpreted in relation to the observation time. Functions can be considered structural gradients of time or of observation periods.


The analysis of conventional stained histological slides reflects to a short non changeable observation time, which in reality cannot be repeated at different times on the same tissue. Acquired digital images such as virtual slides (VS) offer the opportunity of simulating different observation times if object features are analyzed that reflect structural changes at different times. The measurement of immunohistochemal intensity levels performed on the same structure can be considered a time series of the binding or antigen – antibody process. The obtained frame of these measurements can be mapped on chemical significant descriptors such as Shannon’s and structural entropy, and their entropy flows.

Material and Methods

Histological glass slides displaying with kidneys of 39 chicken embryos were incubated with AP labelled galectin-3. In addition, 20 control cases were analyzed. One snapshot per case was digitalized and the staining intensity was measured in relation to a series of segmentation grey levels (0 – 255). The data were mapped on the principal measures Shannon’s and structural entropy as well as on the entropy flow derived from texture analysis.


The mapped functions of entropies display with significant changes between the galectin-3 positive images and their negative control counterparts. The data indicate that the binding capacities of galectin-3 hold a significant function during the development of foetal chicken kidneys.


Laboratory techniques that simulate time-related series of measurements can be used to describe and interpret biological functions in living organisms at the cellular level.


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How to Cite
KAYSER, Klaus et al. How to analyze Structure and Function in Tissue – based Diagnosis?. Diagnostic Pathology, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 1, apr. 2016. ISSN 2364-4893. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 apr. 2019. doi:


Digital pathology; structure, function; galectin-7; structural entropy; cellular heterogeneity

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