• confocal laser scan microscopy (CLSM): immunocytochemistry;
  • in situ hybridization;
  • image processing

Abstract: The confocal microscope is becoming increasingly important as an apparatus to analyze the 3-D topography of the cell. Main reasons are the high resolution optical sectioning capacity, the non-invasiveness which leaves the object intact, and the imaging capabilities. This chapter introduces a description of the confocal principle, the basic concepts of confocal fluorescence microscopy and some criteria for cell preservation. Optimization of in situ immunofluorescence, hybridization and detection procedures in combination with new digital microscope techniques can fully express their capacities only if the preparation of biological specimens is accurate for 3-D analysis. Some applications of confocal microscopy to the study of intranucleolar antigens, enzyme translocations and fluorescence in situ hybridization, are described in association with 3-D software image processing, as a useful framework for the study of the 3-D visualization of proteins and chromatin domains.