Elasticity mapping of living fibroblasts by AFM and immunofluorescence observation of the cytoskeleton

Hisashi Haga*, Shigeo Sasaki, Kazushige Kawabata, Etsuro Ito, Tatsuo Ushiki, Takashi Sambongi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

211 Citations (Scopus)


Using the force mapping mode of atomic force microscopy (AFM), we measured spatial distribution of elastic moduli of living mouse fibroblasts (NIH3T3) in a physiological condition. The nuclear portion of the cellular surface is about 10 times softer than the surroundings. Stiffer fibers are confirmed in the elastic images. In order to investigate origin of the softer nuclear portion and the stiffer fibers, we fixed the identical cells imaged by the AFM, and carried out immunofluorescence observation for three types of cytoskeletal filaments - actin filaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments, using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). A comparison between the AFM and the CLSM images revealed that the elasticity of the cells was concerned not only with the distribution of actin network, but also with intermediate filaments, whereas microtubules had no large effect on the measured elasticity. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Feb
Externally publishedYes
EventThe International Conference on Scanning Probe Microscopy, Cantilever Sensors and Nanostructures (SPM '99) - Seattle, WA, USA
Duration: 1999 May 301999 Jun 1


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Elastic modulus
  • Fibroblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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