Neuronal elasticity as measured by atomic force microscopy

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Journal of Neuroscience Methods 186,1 (2010) 35-41;


A cell's form and function is determined to a great extent by its cellular membrane and the underlying cytoskeleton. Understanding changes in the cellular membrane and cytoskeleton can provide insight into aging and disease of the cell. The atomic force microscope (AFM) allows unparalled resolution for the imaging of these cellular components and the ability to probe their mechanical properties. This report describes our progress toward the use of AFM as a tool in neuroscience applications. Elasticity measurements are reported on living chick embryo dorsal root ganglion and sympathetic neurons in vitro. The neuronal cellular body and growth cones regions are examined for variations in cellular maturity. In addition, cellular changes due to exposure to various environmental conditions and neurotoxins are investigated. This report includes data obtained on different AFM systems, using various AFM techniques and thus also provides knowledge of AFM instruments and methodology. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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