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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access June 11, 2015

Atomic force microscopy as an advanced tool in neuroscience

  • Maja Jazvinšćak Jembrek , Goran Šimić , Patrick R. Hof and Suzana Šegota

Abstract

This review highlights relevant issues about applications and improvements of atomic force microscopy (AFM) toward a better understanding of neurodegenerative changes at the molecular level with the hope of contributing to the development of effective therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative illnesses. The basic principles of AFM are briefly discussed in terms of evaluation of experimental data, including the newest PeakForce Quantitative Nanomechanical Mapping (QNM) and the evaluation of Young’s modulus as the crucial elasticity parameter. AFM topography, revealed in imaging mode, can be used to monitor changes in live neurons over time, representing a valuable tool for high-resolution detection and monitoring of neuronal morphology. The mechanical properties of living cells can be quantified by force spectroscopy as well as by new AFM. A variety of applications are described, and their relevance for specific research areas discussed. In addition, imaging as well as non-imaging modes can provide specific information, not only about the structural and mechanical properties of neuronal membranes, but also on the cytoplasm, cell nucleus, and particularly cytoskeletal components. Moreover, new AFM is able to provide detailed insight into physical structure and biochemical interactions in both physiological and pathophysiological conditions.

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Received: 2015-04-22
Accepted: 2015-06-05
Published Online: 2015-06-11
Published in Print: 2015-01-01

© 2015 Maja Jazvinšćak Jembrek et al.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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