Analysis of living cells grown on different titanium surfaces by time-lapse confocal microscopy

Micron. 2008;39(2):137-43. doi: 10.1016/j.micron.2006.11.009. Epub 2006 Dec 28.


In this study we have combined fluorescence- and reflection-confocal laser scanning microscopy for the simultaneous visualization of living cells and surface topography beneath them. To this purpose we have designed a specific flow chamber and we have tested it with osteoblasts grown on an opaque, thick support, made of smooth or sandblasted titanium. Cells were loaded with Calcein-AM or tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester (TMRM), two probes employed as indicators of cell viability/morphology and mitochondrial membrane potential, respectively. Besides the acquisition of stacks of confocal sections, the system allowed also vertical views and faithful three-dimensional reconstruction of the samples. Confocal microscope implemented with our flow chamber proved to be a promising tool for time-lapse investigation of cell-biomaterial interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fluoresceins / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / physiology
  • Osteoblasts / ultrastructure*
  • Rhodamines / metabolism
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Fluoresceins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Rhodamines
  • tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester
  • Titanium
  • fluorexon