Analysis of human fibroblasts in vitro - imaging conditions and cytochalasin treatment

G. R. Bushell, C. Cahill, F. M. Clarke, C. T. Gibson, S. Myhra, G. S. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The structure of human fibroblasts has been characterised in vitro by atomic force microscopy (AFM) operated in the imaging or in the force vs. distance (F-d) modes. The choice of growth substrate is important to ensure good adhesion. The substrate also affects the imaging conditions for in vitro analysis of live cells; activated tissue culture dishes are shown to promote conditions that routinely result in good quality images. A qualitative model suggests that the activated substrate may act as a preferential scavenger of cellular debris, therefore promoting low adhesion between tip and membrane and preventing the tip from biofouling. Alternatively, the activated substrate may promote a more rigid cell structure, thus resulting in improved imaging. Good imaging conditions provide nondestructive in vitro information about cytoskeletal structure and dynamics; thus, treatment with cytochalasin can be monitored in real time for durations of several hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Force-distance analysis
  • Human fibroblasts
  • Image formation
  • Surface mechanical properties


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