Scanning Microscopy


Improved procedures were developed to correlate cell culture data with the images provided by advanced ultrastructural technologies. These procedures were compatible with the two main types of cellular behavior: adherent, spreading (melanomas, rhabdomyosarcomas) and non-adherent in suspension (leukemias).

The ultrastructure and function of spreading neoplastic cells primarily depend on surface properties of the attaching substrates. Therefore, the films used for cultured cell whole-mount ultrastructural analysis must have adherence features identical to those of standard cell culture vessels. Improved procedures were developed to produce the polystyrene films of required qualities. These films allowed processing of cells for electron microscopy including chemical fixation, cryoimmobilization, and immunolabelling. Furthermore, these polystyrene films permitted observations of the same cell in the high voltage electron microscope to reveal the internal organization and in the low voltage scanning electron microscope to reveal the surface topography.

Neoplastic cells in suspension may dramatically change their ultrastructure as a result of interactions with substrates or other cells. Therefore, immobilization of cellular processes must occur rapidly while cells remain in suspension. These processes were cryoimmobilized by high pressure freezing through the use of the newly designed specimen carrier. Procedures allowing high yield attachment of cryofixed neoplastic cells to amino-propyl-derived glass carriers enabled observations of cell surface topography. Furthermore, freeze-substitution and drying of freeze-fractured cells revealed their three-dimensional internal organization in the low voltage scanning electron microscope.

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