Virtual microscopy in the flesh
Below are links to actual digital images of microscopic tissue samples that are used in Dartmouth Medical School's second-year pathology course. (Version 8 or later of Adobe's free Flash Player is required to view the images. Click on the button above to download Flash Player.)
To view the slides, click on a thumbnail image below, and the slide will open. Then you can:
- Click on the plus and minus symbols at the bottom of the image to increase or decrease the magnification (the numbers to the left of the plus and minus symbols indicate the magnification of the current view).
- Click on the arrow keys to move the image around and view specific parts of it at higher magnifications.
- Click on the check mark to return the image to its original format.
- Access additional features by right-clicking on either the small triangle at the far left of the row of symbols or on the arrow-in-a-circle symbol at the far right.
Diagnosis: Giant cell arteritis
This slide shows cross-sections of several arteries that have thickened walls and that have been infiltrated with inflammatory cells--including the "giant cells," from which this condition gets its name. It can be successfully treated with immune-suppressing drugs, such as steroids. View Slide
Diagnosis: Central pontine myelinolysis
This slide shows a section of "pons," a part of the brain stem. It has been stained blue to reveal the myelin sheath on the nerve fibers. The central area is paler because it has lost myelin. This condition is caused often by a too-rapid correction in a patient's sodium levels and is usually fatal. View Slide
This slide shows several cross-sections of heart arteries that have become almost completely occluded, or blocked, with atherosclerotic plaque. The unstable, thickened vessel wall has ruptured, completely obstructing the flow of blood in this individual and resulting in a fatal myocardial infarction, or heart attack. View Slide
Diagnosis: Fetal germinal matrix hemorrhage
This slide shows an area of developing fetal brain with a large hemorrhage in the ventricle, in the center of the brain. The blood vessels in this region are very fragile and susceptible to rupturing. While the developing fetus may be able to recover without complications from a small hemorrhage in the ventricle, a large hemorrhage such as this one are sometimes encountered during premature deliveries and can be fatal. View Slide
Diagnosis: Diabetic glomerulonephropathy
This slide shows a "needle biopsy" from the kidney of a patient with diabetes. Needle biopsies don't require extensive surgery; instead, a long, hollow needle is inserted into the affected organ and a small sample of tissue is removed in the needle. Here, the glomeruli, which are the filtering units of the kidney, are stained blue and exhibit classic so-called Kimmelstiel-Wilson nodules, which are characteristic of diabetic nephropathy, or kidney disease. View Slide
If you'd like to offer feedback about this article, we'd welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.
This article may not be reproduced or reposted without permission. To inquire about permission, contact DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.