Structure Function Estimated from Histological Tissue Sections

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Ultrasonic scattering is determined by not only the properties of individual scatterers but also the correlation among scatterer positions. The role of scatterer spatial correlation is significant for dense medium, but has not been fully understood. The effect of scatterer spatial correlation may be modeled by the structure function as a frequency-dependent factor in the backscatter coefficient (BSC) expression. The structure function has been previously estimated from the BSC data. The aim of this study is to estimate the structure function from histology to test if the acoustically estimated structure function is indeed caused by the scatterer spatial distribution. Hematoxylin and eosin stained histological sections from dense cell pellet biophantoms were digitized. The scatterer positions were determined manually from the histological images. The structure function was calculated from the extracted scatterer positions. The structure function obtained from histology showed reasonable agreement in the shape but not in the amplitude, compared with the structure function previously estimated from the backscattered data. Fitting a polydisperse structure function model to the histologically estimated structure function yielded relatively accurate cell radius estimates (error < 15%). Furthermore, two types of mouse tumors that have similar cell size and shape but distinct cell spatial distributions were studied, where the backscattered data were shown to be related to the cell spatial distribution through the structure function estimated from histology. In conclusion, the agreement between acoustically estimated and histologically estimated structure functions suggests that the acoustically estimated structure function is related to the scatterer spatial distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7442168
Pages (from-to)1296-1305
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Acoustic scattering
  • Structure function
  • backscatter coefficient
  • histology
  • quantitative ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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