Apoptosis is an essential biological function required during embryogenesis, tissue homeostasis, organ development and immune system regulation. It is an active cell death pathway involved in a variety of pathological conditions. During this process cytoskeletal proteins appear damaged and undergo an enzymatic disassembling, leading to formation of apoptotic features. This study was designed to examine the threedimensional chromatin behavior and cytoskeleton involvement, in particular actin re-modeling. HL-60 cells, exposed to hyperthermia, a known apoptotic trigger, were examined by means of a Field Emission in Lens Scanning Electron Microscope (FEISEM). Ultrastructural observations revealed in treated cells the presence of apoptotic patterns after hyperthermia trigger. In particular, three-dimensional apoptotic chromatin rearrangements appeared involving the translocation of filamentous actin from cytoplasm to the nucleus. FEISEM immunogold techniques showed actin labeling and its precise three-dimensional localization in the diffuse chromatin, well separated from the condensed one. The actin presence in dispersed chromatin inside the apoptotic nucleus can be considered an important feature, indispensable to permit the apoptotic machinery evolution.
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