Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is becoming an increasingly popular tool of choice for studying cell-matrix interactions. As recap of our recent webinar of September 20th, featuring Michael Hill, today’s post features the use of surface plasmon resonance in observing and measuring cell-matrix interactions: SPR imaging.

SPR imaging is accomplished by modifying existing SPR instrumentation. The unit uses s-like and p-like states of polarized light to capture images in addition to traditional SPR data. Both states are shown onto the SPR probe, and a prism reflects the light from the SPR chamber into a CCD camera, which captures a digital image of the sample. The p-polarized and s-polarized image files can then be used to generate normalized images of cells as well as live, time-lapse images of cell activity. As such, the quality and resolution of SPRI images have been compared favorably with current fluorescence microscopy techniques, and represent an exciting alternative to a traditional approach.

SPRI is a powerful and relatively new technique that has many interesting applications in the field of cellular imaging. It can be used to provide a quantitative analysis of protein deposition as well as the cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix and substrata. SPRI is also an excellent method for monitoring cell ruffling and quantify cell spreading.

While the images obtained from SPRI are comparable to those of fluorescence microscopy, SPRI circumvents many of the limitations associated with fluorescence microscopy, such as photobleaching and the need for a fluorescent tag on the associated cell. Additionally, SPRI imaging does not use complicated optical equipment, and the visible light used for imaging is less toxic than those of the ultraviolet light used in fluorescence.

SPRI proves to be a powerful tool in the growing study of cell-matrix interactions and is but one of many techniques in a large and diverse field. For a more comprehensive look at these integral cellular interactions, register for Michael Hill’s webinar (co-sponsored with our parent company, Ametek Technologies): “Using Surface Plasmon Resonance for Probing Cell-Matrix Interactions” at the following link: