Morphology in the Digital Age: Integrating High-Resolution Description of Structural Alterations With Phenotypes and Genotypes

Cynthia C. Nast, Kevin V. Lemley, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Serena Bagnasco, Carmen Avila-Casado, Stephen M. Hewitt, Laura Barisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Conventional light microscopy has been used to characterize and classify renal diseases, evaluate histopathology in studies and trials, and educate renal pathologists and nephrologists. The advent of digital pathology, in which a glass slide can be scanned to create whole slide images (WSIs) for viewing and manipulating on a computer monitor, provides real and potential advantages compared with conventional light microscopy. Software tools such as annotation, morphometry, and image analysis can be applied to WSIs for studies or educational purposes, and the digital images are available globally to clinicians, pathologists, and investigators. New ways of assessing renal pathology with observational data collection may allow better morphologic correlations and integration with molecular and genetic signatures, refinements of classification schema, and understanding of disease pathogenesis. In multicenter studies, WSIs, which require additional quality assurance steps, provide efficiency by reducing slide shipping and consensus conference costs, and they allow slide viewing anytime and anywhere. Although validation studies for the routine diagnostic use of digital pathology still are needed, this is a powerful tool currently available for translational research, clinical trials, and education in renal pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-278
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Digital pathology
  • Glomerulus
  • Renal pathology
  • Virtual microscopy
  • Virtual slide
  • Whole slide imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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