High Resolution Helium Ion Scanning Microscopy of the Rat Kidney

Emory University, United States of America
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 03/2013; 8(3):e57051. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057051
Source: PubMed


Helium ion scanning microscopy is a novel imaging technology with the potential to provide sub-nanometer resolution images of uncoated biological tissues. So far, however, it has been used mainly in materials science applications. Here, we took advantage of helium ion microscopy to explore the epithelium of the rat kidney with unsurpassed image quality and detail. In addition, we evaluated different tissue preparation methods for their ability to preserve tissue architecture. We found that high contrast, high resolution imaging of the renal tubule surface is possible with a relatively simple processing procedure that consists of transcardial perfusion with aldehyde fixatives, vibratome tissue sectioning, tissue dehydration with graded methanol solutions and careful critical point drying. Coupled with the helium ion system, fine details such as membrane texture and membranous nanoprojections on the glomerular podocytes were visualized, and pores within the filtration slit diaphragm could be seen in much greater detail than in previous scanning EM studies. In the collecting duct, the extensive and striking apical microplicae of the intercalated cells were imaged without the shrunken or distorted appearance that is typical with conventional sample processing and scanning electron microscopy. Membrane depressions visible on principal cells suggest possible endo- or exocytotic events, and central cilia on these cells were imaged with remarkable preservation and clarity. We also demonstrate the use of colloidal gold probes for highlighting specific cell-surface proteins and find that 15 nm gold labels are practical and easily distinguishable, indicating that external labels of various sizes can be used to detect multiple targets in the same tissue. We conclude that this technology represents a technical breakthrough in imaging the topographical ultrastructure of animal tissues. Its use in future studies should allow the study of fine cellular details and provide significant advances in our understanding of cell surface structures and membrane organization.

  • Source
    • "The raised ridge (arrows) represents the tight junction between the two cells. Reprinted from Rice et al. (2013). (B) Filopodia: confocal images of chimeric retinas, derived by injection of SRFfl/wt/PDGFb-iCreER/mTmG ESCs into wild-type embryos. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Endothelial cells (ECs) exhibit dramatic plasticity of form at the single- and collective-cell level during new vessel growth, adult vascular homeostasis, and pathology. Understanding how, when, and why individual ECs coordinate decisions to change shape, in relation to the myriad of dynamic environmental signals, is key to understanding normal and pathological blood vessel behavior. However, this is a complex spatial and temporal problem. In this review we show that the multidisciplinary field of Adaptive Systems offers a refreshing perspective, common biological language, and straightforward toolkit that cell biologists can use to untangle the complexity of dynamic, morphogenetic systems.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Developmental Cell
  • Source
    • "Taking advantage of helium ion microscopy, Rice et. al were able to explore the epithelium of the rat kidney with unsurpassed image quality and detail [67]. With the helium ion system, fine details such as membrane texture and membranous nanoprojections on glomerular podocytes were visualized. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The noble gas helium has many applications owing to its distinct physical and chemical characteristics, namely: its low density, low solubility, and high thermal conductivity. Chiefly, the abundance of studies in medicine relating to helium are concentrated in its possibility of being used as an adjunct therapy in a number of respiratory ailments such as asthma exacerbation, COPD, ARDS, croup, and bronchiolitis. Helium gas, once believed to be biologically inert, has been recently shown to be beneficial in protecting the myocardium from ischemia by various mechanisms. Though neuroprotection of brain tissue has been documented, the mechanism by which it does so has yet to be made clear. Surgeons are exploring using helium instead of carbon dioxide to insufflate the abdomen of patients undergoing laparoscopic abdominal procedures due to its superiority in preventing respiratory acidosis in patients with comorbid conditions that cause carbon dioxide retention. Newly discovered applications in Pulmonary MRI radiology and imaging of organs in very fine detail using Helium Ion Microscopy has opened exciting new possibilities for the use of helium gas in technologically advanced fields of medicine.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the few conclusions known about chromosome structure is that Mg2+ is required for the organization of chromosomes. Scanning electron microscopy is a powerful tool for studying chromosome morphology, but being nonconductive, chromosomes require metal/carbon coating that may conceal information about the detailed surface structure of the sample. Helium ion microscopy (HIM), which has recently been developed, does not require sample coating due to its charge compensation system. Here we investigated the structure of isolated human chromosomes under different Mg2+ concentrations by HIM. High-contrast and resolution images from uncoated samples obtained by HIM enabled investigation on the effects of Mg2+ on chromosome structure. Chromatin fiber information was obtained more clearly with uncoated than coated chromosomes. Our results suggest that both overall features and detailed structure of chromatin are significantly affected by different Mg2+ concentrations. Chromosomes were more condensed and a globular structure of chromatin with 30 nm diameter was visualized with 5 mM Mg2+ treatment, while 0 mM Mg2+ resulted in a less compact and more fibrous structure 11 nm in diameter. We conclude that HIM is a powerful tool for investigating chromosomes and other biological samples without requiring metal/carbon coating.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Microscopy and Microanalysis
Show more