The growth of a tumor is characterized by the loss of cellular organization in tissues. In this image of a mouse’s intestinal epithelium, well-organized healthy cells at the top right have well-defined cell boundaries labeled in red. In contrast, cells of a growing tumor in the lower center of the image lack cell boundary labeling and are arranged more randomly. Such changes in cellular organization result in a difference in the behavior of the cells as they form the tumor. By using fluorescence microscopy to analyze mouse tissue samples in this way, researchers are able to compare regions of healthy tissue with diseased areas, and improve our understanding of how polyps form in the intestines of humans.
Mouse intestinal tissue was dissected, fixed, sectioned and stained with fluorescent dyes for microtubules (green), ß-catenin, which predominantly stains cell boundaries (red), and DNA (blue), and viewed with a widefield microscope.
Lauren Zasadil and Beth Weaver PhD, Dept. Cell and Regenerative Biology, Univ. Wisconsin at Madison