Human leukocytes fixed in suspension were allowed to settle onto poly-L-lysine-coated glass coverslips and prepared for observation with the scanning electron microscope (SEM). The coverslips were dehydrated in ethanol, critical point dried with CO2, and coated with gold-palladium. With the aid of a locator grid, several fields were photographed with light microscopy after the cells had settled onto the poly-L-lysine-coated coverslips and again after completion of the processing before SEM observation. Quantitative comparison of the number of cells present after settling with the number retained for final viewing with the SEM revealed a cell yield approaching 100%. This simple, reproducible, high-yield technique for processing cells fixed in suspension for SEM prevents changes in surface architecture induced by collecting live cells onto various substrates before fixation and also avoids potentially selective cell losses. Such a technique should allow quantitative correlations between SEM and other morphological and functional parameters.

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