Journal Highlight: High-resolution MRI of early-stage mouse embryos

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  • Published: Mar 24, 2013
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: MRI Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: High-resolution MRI of early-stage mouse embryos

High-resolution MRI of early-stage mouse embryos

NMR in Biomedicine, 2013, 26, 224-231
Prodromos Parasoglou, Cesar A. Berrios-Otero, Brian J. Nieman, Daniel H. Turnbull

A method of imaging the mouse embryo from the early stages close to the onset of organogenesis uses a self-gated MRI protocol combined with image registration to obtain whole-embryo high-resolution 3D images.

Abstract: Both the availability of methods to manipulate genes and the completion of the mouse genome sequence have led to the generation of thousands of genetically modified mouse lines that provide a new platform for the study of mammalian development and developmental diseases. Phenotyping of mouse embryos has traditionally been performed on fixed embryos by the use of ex vivo histological, optical and high-resolution MRI techniques. Although potentially powerful, longitudinal imaging of individual animals is difficult or impossible with conventional optical methods because of the inaccessibility of mouse embryos inside the maternal uterus. To address this problem, we present a method of imaging the mouse embryo from stages as early as embryonic day (E)10.5, close to the onset of organogenesis in most physiological systems. This method uses a self-gated MRI protocol, combined with image registration, to obtain whole-embryo high-resolution (100 µm isotropic) three-dimensional images. Using this approach, we demonstrate high contrast in the cerebral vasculature, limbs, spine and central nervous system without the use of contrast agents. These results indicate the potential of MRI for the longitudinal imaging of developing mouse embryos in utero and for future applications in analyzing mutant mouse phenotypes.

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