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Cytometry. 1997 Aug 1;28(4):298-304.

Quantitation of cell-matrix adhesion using confocal image analysis of focal contact associated proteins and interference reflection microscopy.

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Laboratoire DyOGen, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


We have developed an approach for the quantitation of vinculin, a focal contact associated protein, based on a multimodal confocal microscopy and image analysis. Vinculin spot distribution was imaged in confocal fluorescence microscopy and the corresponding focal contacts were imaged in confocal interference reflection microscopy. These images were analyzed with a SAMBA image cytometer. The image analysis program provided 12 morphometric features describing cellular area, shape, and proportions of vinculin spots as well as six topographical features describing the distribution of vinculin and the relative overlap of vinculin and focal contacts. This approach was applied to the study of rat osteosarcoma cells submitted to mechanical stresses: successions of 2g and 0g accelerations during a series of parabolic flights. The measured features were assessed by means of correlation analysis and stepwise discriminant analysis. After correlation analysis, only ten parameters were retained. Quantitation of cell morphological parameters indicated that cell area was significantly affected by gravitational stresses as well as vinculin distribution. Cell area was reduced by 50% and vinculin spots were restricted to cell periphery. Cell adhesion measured by IRM decreased significantly in the first part of the flight and remained stable at the end of the flight. These results suggest that cell-matrix adhesion is affected by gravitational stresses. Image analysis provides useful tools to investigate focal adhesion re-organization under different physiological stimuli.

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