Abstract

Direct visualization of the secretion process of individual bovine adrenal chromaffin cells was achieved with laser-induced native fluorescence imaging microscopy. By monitoring the native fluorescence of catecholamines excited by the 275 nm laser line with an intensified charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera, we obtained good temporal and spatial resolution simultaneously without using additional fluorescent probes. Large variations were found among individual cells in terms of the amounts of catecholamines secreted and the rates of secretion. Different regions of a cell also behave differently during the secretion process. However, the degree of this local heterogeneity is smaller than in neurons and neuralgia. The influence of deep-ultraviolet (UV) laser excitation on cells is also discussed. This quantitative imaging technique provides a useful noninvasive approach for the study of dynamic cellular changes and the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of secretory processes.

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