Using the force modulation mode in atomic force microscopy, we measured elastic properties of living mouse fibroblasts (NIH3T3) in a culture medium. The topographic images of the cellular surface and the corresponding elastic images of the cellular surface were able to be captured simultaneously with high spatial resolution. The consecutive images were useful for examining time-dependent changes in the cellular surface. We observed that some cells continued to shrink and change their softness for 2 hours. Then the force modulation mode in atomic force microscopy shows potential use in analyzing time-dependent regional elastic properties of living cells with high spatial resolution.
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