Send to

Choose Destination
J Microsc. 1994 Mar;173(Pt 3):173-81.

Atomic force microscopy of freeze-fracture replicas of rat atrial tissue.

Author information

University of Chicago, Department of Medicine/Cardiology, IL 60637.


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has provided three-dimensional (3-D) surface images of many biological specimens at molecular resolution. In the absence of spectroscopic capability for AFM, it is often difficult to distinguish individual components if the specimen contains a population of mixed structures such as in a cellular membrane. In an effort to understand the AFM images better, a correlative study between AFM and the well-established technique of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was performed. Freeze-fractured replicas of adult rat atrial tissue were examined by both TEM and AFM. The same replicas were analysed and the same details were identified, which allowed a critical comparison of surface topography by both techniques. AFM images of large-scale subcellular structures (nuclei, mitochondria, granules) correlated well with TEM images. AFM images of smaller features and surface textures appeared somewhat different from the TEM images. This presumably reflects the difference in the surface sensitivity of AFM versus TEM, as well as the nature of images in AFM (3-D surface contour) and TEM (2-D projection). AFM images also provided new information about the replica itself. Unlike TEM, it was possible to examine both sides of the replica with AFM; the resolution on one side was significantly greater compared with the other side. It was also possible to obtain quantitative height information which is not readily available with TEM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center