Giemsa-based cytological assessment of area, shape and nucleus:cytoplasm ratio of goblet cells of rabbit bulbar conjunctiva

Michael Doughty

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Goblet cells were visualized in impression cytology specimens from bulbar conjunctiva of the rabbit eye using Giemsa staining. Highly magnified images were used to generate outlines of the goblet cells and their characteristic eccentric nuclei. Using sets of 10 cells from 15 cytology specimens, I found that the longest dimension of the goblet cells averaged 16.7 ± 2.3 µm, the shortest dimension averaged 14.4 ± 1.8 µm and the nucleus averaged 6.3 ± 0.8 µm. The goblet cells were ellipsoid in shape and the longest:shortest cell dimension ratio averaged 1.169 ± 0.091. The goblet cell areas ranged from 108 to 338 µm2 (average 193 ± 50 µm2). The area could be predicted reliably from the longest and shortest dimensions (r2 = 0.903). The areas of goblet cell nuclei were 15–58 µm2 (average 33 ± µm2) and the nucleus:cytoplasm area fraction was predictably greater in smaller goblet cells and less in the larger goblet cells (Spearman correlation = 0.817). The nuclei were estimated to occupy an average of 9.5% of the cell volume. The differences in size, shape and nucleus:cytoplasm ratio may reflect differences in goblet cell maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-509
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnic and Histochemistry
Issue number8
Early online date16 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016



  • cytology
  • conjunctiva
  • Giemsa

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