Using Immuno-Scanning Electron Microscopy for the Observation of Focal Adhesion-substratum interactions at the Nano- and Microscale in S-Phase Cells

  • Manus J. P. Biggs
  • R. Geoff Richards
  • Matthew J. Dalby
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 695)


It is becoming clear that the nano/microtopography of a biomaterial in vivo is of first importance in influencing focal adhesion formation and subsequent cellular behaviour. When considering next-generation biomaterials, where the material’s ability to elicit a regulated cell response will be key to device success, focal adhesion analysis is an useful indicator of cytocompatibility and can be used to determine functionality. Here, a methodology is described to allow simultaneous high-resolution imaging of focal adhesion sites and the material topography using field emission scanning electron microscopy. Furthermore, through the use of BrdU pulse labelling and immunogold detection, S-phase cells can be selected from a near-synchronised population of cells to remove artefacts due to cell cycle phase. This is a key factor in adhesion quantification as there is natural variation in focal adhesion density as cells progress through the cell cycle, which can skew the quantitative analysis of focal adhesion formation on fabricated biomaterials.

Key words

Nanotopography Microtopography Electron microscopy Osteoblast 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manus J. P. Biggs
    • 1
  • R. Geoff Richards
    • 2
  • Matthew J. Dalby
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Nanotechnology Center for Mechanics in Regenerative MedicineColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.AO Research Institute DavosDavos PlatzSwitzerland
  3. 3.Centre for Cell Engineering, Faculty of Biomedical and Life ScienceUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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