Confocal imaging of early heart development in Xenopus laevis

Dev Biol. 2000 Feb 1;218(1):64-73. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1999.9558.


Xenopus laevis provides a number of advantages to studies on cardiovascular development. The embryos are fairly large, are easy to obtain, and can develop at ambient temperature in simple buffer solutions. Although classic descriptions of heart development exist, the ability to use whole-mount immunohistochemical methods and confocal microscopy may enhance the ability to understand both normal and experimentally perturbed cardiovascular development. We have started to examine the early stages of cardiac development in Xenopus, seeking to identify antibodies and fixatives that allow easy examination of the developing heart. We have used monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) raised against bovine cardiac troponin T and chicken tropomyosin to visualize cardiac muscle, a goat antibody recognizing bovine type VI collagen to stain the lining of vessels, and the JB3 mAb raised against chicken fibrillin, which allows the visualization of a variety of cardiovascular tissues during early development. Results from embryonic stages 24-46 are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Aorta, Thoracic / embryology
  • Cardiovascular System / embryology*
  • Collagen / immunology
  • Collagen / isolation & purification
  • Fibrillins
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Microfilament Proteins / immunology
  • Microfilament Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Muscle Proteins / immunology
  • Muscle Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Tropomyosin / immunology
  • Tropomyosin / isolation & purification
  • Troponin T / immunology
  • Troponin T / isolation & purification
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Fibrillins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Tropomyosin
  • Troponin T
  • Collagen