A new method for investigating the undersurface of cell monolayers by scanning electron microscopy.


Glow discharge is commonly used for cleaning the inside of coating units and for cleaning hard surfaces before carbon or metal evaporation procedures. In this study it has been used to remove the embedding medium to reveal, for scanning electron microscope (SEM) study, the undersurfaces of Balb/c 3T3 fibroblastic cells that have been cultured on Thermanox discs and embedded in LR White resin. Ten to twenty-minute ionization times were found to reveal the largest area of the undersurface without causing damage to the cells. Chemical etching of the resin was also shown to reveal the undersurface of the cells, but caused some damage, preventing successful re-embedding for transmission electron microscopy, and at higher magnifications revealed less detail. A circular impression within the main outline of the cells was observed in many cells, which is considered to reflect the presence of a nucleus. The undersurfaces of most cells, after applying both methods of etching, displayed a number of very short processes. Subsequent transmission electron microscopy of ultrathin sectioned, re-embedded, areas of the gold sputter-coated blocks revealed the depth of ionization that had occurred and confirmed that the specimens observed in SEM were the undersurfaces of cells. This method can be modified to study the attaching surface of any organism to a substratum.

Cite this paper

@article{Richards1993ANM, title={A new method for investigating the undersurface of cell monolayers by scanning electron microscopy.}, author={R Geoff Richards and Patricia Calder{\'o}n Lloyd and Berton A. Rahn and Iolo ap Gwynn}, journal={Journal of microscopy}, year={1993}, volume={171 Pt 3}, pages={205-13} }