Standards for quantitative assessment of lung structure

European Respiratory Society - ERS
European Respiratory Society (ERS);American Thoracic Society
Publication date:
01 January 2010


To understand normal lung function, the processes of growth and development, and the mechanisms and effects of diseases, we need information about the 3D structure of the lung. Quantification of organ structure is based upon 3D physical attributes of tissues, cells, organelles, alveoli, airways, and blood vessels. When structures of interest are inaccessible or too small to be seen macroscopically, we rely on physical or optical sections through a few representative samples taken from the large heterogeneous organ. The resulting 2D images confer incomplete information about the 3D structure, and may not accurately represent true 3D properties, leading to possible misinterpretation when measurements are made on 2D sections.