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Proceedings Paper

Confocal imaging of whole vertebrate embryos reveals novel insights into molecular and cellular mechanisms of organ development
Author(s): Diana M. Hadel; Bradley B. Keller; Lisa L. Sandell
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Paper Abstract

Confocal microscopy has been an invaluable tool for studying cellular or sub-cellular biological processes. The study of vertebrate embryology is based largely on examination of whole embryos and organs. The application of confocal microscopy to immunostained whole mount embryos, combined with three dimensional (3D) image reconstruction technologies, opens new avenues for synthesizing molecular, cellular and anatomical analysis of vertebrate development. Optical cropping of the region of interest enables visualization of structures that are morphologically complex or obscured, and solid surface rendering of fluorescent signal facilitates understanding of 3D structures. We have applied these technologies to whole mount immunostained mouse embryos to visualize developmental morphogenesis of the mammalian inner ear and heart. Using molecular markers of neuron development and transgenic reporters of neural crest cell lineage we have examined development of inner ear neurons that originate from the otic vesicle, along with the supporting glial cells that derive from the neural crest. The image analysis reveals a previously unrecognized coordinated spatial organization between migratory neural crest cells and neurons of the cochleovestibular nerve. The images also enable visualization of early cochlear spiral nerve morphogenesis relative to the developing cochlea, demonstrating a heretofore unknown association of neural crest cells with extending peripheral neurite projections. We performed similar analysis of embryonic hearts in mouse and chick, documenting the distribution of adhesion molecules during septation of the outflow tract and remodeling of aortic arches. Surface rendering of lumen space defines the morphology in a manner similar to resin injection casting and micro-CT.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 March 2014
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8953, Optical Methods in Developmental Biology II, 895302 (4 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045446
Show Author Affiliations
Diana M. Hadel, Univ. of Louisville (United States)
Bradley B. Keller, Kosair Charities Pediatric Heart Research Program (United States)
Lisa L. Sandell, Univ. of Louisville (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8953:
Optical Methods in Developmental Biology II
Andrew M. Rollins; Cecilia W. Lo; Scott E. Fraser, Editor(s)

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