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Using the Atomic Force Microscope to Observe and Study the Ultrastructure of the Living BIU-87 Cells of the Human Bladder Cancer

Bin Chen, Qi Wang, Li Han*

The Study Center of Reproduction, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine; *The Lab of Scanning Probe Microscopy,
the Physical Department of Tsinghua University, Beijing, P. R. China

Full-text (for Scanning subscribers)

Summary: In this study, the ultrastructure of living BIU-87 cells of human bladder cancer was mapped using atomic force microscopy to reveal the dynamic change of single cancerous cell division. Simultaneously, the feasibility and functional reliability of the atomic force microscope (AFM) were established and a laboratory model using AFM to study living cancerous cells was created. In this experiment, BIU-87 cells of human bladder cancer were cultured by conventional methods and grown in gelatin-treated dishes. A thermostat was used for preserving the cell’s living temperature. Scanning of these cells using AFM was carried out in physiologic condition. The AFM images of the ultrastructure of living BIU-87 cells as well as those of the cell’s membrane and cytoskeleton were very clear. The dynamic phenomenon of single cell division was observed. It was concluded that the AFM was able to observe and
depict the ultrastructure of living cells of human bladder cancer directly and in real time. This experimental model is expected to play an important role in elucidating the cancerous mechanism of bladder normal cells at the atomic or nanometer level.

Key words: atomic force microscopy, human bladder cancer, BIU-87, ultrastructure

PACS: 00.00.00, 00.07.05.Pj, 07.79.Lh, 42.30.Va, 68.37.Ps