Application of X-ray microscopy in analysis of living hydrated cells


  • Yoshimasa Yamamoto,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Florida College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612
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  • Kunio Shinohara


Because there is a limit for analysis of fine hydrophilic cell structures of living cells in medium by ordinary techniques, including electron microscopy, the development of a new technology to overcome such limitation is highly desirable. In this regard, soft X-ray microscopy (high-resolution X-ray imaging of structures), which does not require any special procedures for sample preparation, has been developed and applied to analyze structures of biological specimens. In this article, application of two types of X-ray microscopes, which use laser-produced plasma X-rays or synchrotron radiation to image the structure of macrophage cells, is introduced as an example of a novel approach to analysis of biological specimens. Both types of X-ray microscopy show the network of fine fibrillar surface structures on macrophages in medium. Ordinary transmission and scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy also show the presence of such structures, but electron microscopy showed alterations due to sample processing and light microscopy did not show a clear image due to low resolution. Thus, X-ray microscopy has the potential capability to analyze structures of live cells in a hydrated condition and may reveal a function-related structural alignment of cells in their natural form. Anat Rec (New Anat) 269:217–223, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.