The multilayer skin provides the physical resistance and strength against the environmental attacks, and consequently plays a significant role in maintaining the mammalian health. Currently, optical microscopy (OM) is the most common method for the research related to skin tissues while with the drawbacks including the possibility of changing the native morphology of the sample with the addition of the chemical or immunological staining and the restricted resolution of images for the direct observation of the tissue structures. To investigate if the function of each tissue is structure-dependent and the how the injured skin returns to the intact condition, we applied atomic force microscopy (AFM) on the sectioned mice-skin to reveal the tissue structures with a nanoscale resolution. From the outermost stratum to the inner layer of the skin tissue, the respectively laminated, fibrous, and brick-like structures were observed and corresponded to various functions. Due to the mechanical differences between the tissue constituents and their boundaries, the sizes and arrangements of the components were characterised and quantified by the mechanical mapping of AFM, which enabled the analytical comparisons between tissue layers. For the wound model, the skin tissues were examined with the initial formation of blood vessels and type-I collagen, which agreed with the stage of healing process estimated by OM but showed more detail information about the evolution of proteins among the skin. In conclusion, the characterisation of the components that consist of skin tissue by AFM enables the connection of the tissue function to the corresponded ultrastructure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine