Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) Microscopy for Real-Time Imaging of Nanoparticle-Cell Plasma Membrane Interaction

  • Ladan Parhamifar
  • S. Moein MoghimiEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 906)


Nanoparticulate systems are widely used for site-specific drug and gene delivery as well as for medical imaging. The mode of nanoparticle-cell interaction may have a significant effect on the pathway of nanoparticle internalization and subsequent intracellular trafficking. Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy allows for real-time monitoring of nanoparticle-membrane interaction events, which can provide vital information in relation to design and surface engineering of therapeutic nanoparticles for cell-specific targeting. In contrast to other microscopy techniques, the bleaching effect by lasers in TIRF microscopy is considerably less when using fluorescent nanoparticles and it reduces photo-induced cytotoxicity during visualization of live-cell events since it only illuminates the specific area near or at the plasma membrane.

Key words

TIRFM Live-cell imaging Cell surface Widefield microscopy Trafficking Nano-particles 



Financial support from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (Det frie forskningsråd for teknologi og production), reference 274-08-0534, and Leica Microsystems (Ballerup, Denmark) are greatly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and NanotoxicologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen ØDenmark

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