Scanning Microscopy


The introduction of video rate confocal laser scanning microscopes (VRCLSM) used in reflection mode with high magnification, high aperture objective lenses and with further magnification by a zoom facility allowed the first detailed observations of the activity of living cytoplasm and offered a new tool for investigation of the structural transition from the living state to the specimen fixed for electron microscopy (EM). We used a Noran Odyssey VRCLSM in reflection (backscattered) mode. A greater degree of oversampling and more comfortable viewing of the live or taped video image was achieved at zoom factor 5, giving a display monitor field width of 10 μ.m. A series of mesenchyme derived cell lines - from normal cells to sarcoma cells of different malignancy - was used to compare behaviour of the observed intracellular structures and results of fixation. We contrasted the dynamic behaviour of fine features in the cytoplasm of normal and neoplastic living cells and changes induced by various treatments. The tubulomembraneous 3D structure of cytoplasm in living cells is dynamic with motion observable at the new limits of resolution provided by VRCLSM. All organelles appear integrated into one functional compartment supporting the continuous 3D trafficking of small particles (vesicles). This integrated dynamic spatial network (IDSN) was found to be largest in neoplastic cells.

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