Atomic force microscopy applications extend across a number of fields; however, limitations have reduced its effectiveness in live cell analysis. This report discusses the use of AFM to evaluate the three-dimensional (3-D) architecture of living chick dorsal root ganglia and sympathetic ganglia. These data sets were compared to similar images acquired with confocal laser scanning microscopy of identical cells. For this comparison we made use of visualization techniques which were applicable to both sets of data and identified several issues when coupling these technologies. These direct comparisons offer quantitative validation and confirmation of the character of novel images acquired by AFM. This paper is one in a series emphasizing various new applications of AFM in neurobiology.
confocal, atomic force microscopy, neurons
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