Live imaging of blood flow in mammalian embryos using Doppler swept-source optical coherence tomography

J Biomed Opt. 2008 Nov-Dec;13(6):060506. doi: 10.1117/1.3046716.


Studying hemodynamic changes during early mammalian embryonic development is critical for further advances in prevention, diagnostics, and treatment of congenital cardiovascular (CV) birth defects and diseases. Doppler optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been shown to provide sensitive measurements of blood flow in avian and amphibian embryos. We combined Doppler swept-source optical coherence tomography (DSS-OCT) and live mouse embryo culture to analyze blood flow dynamics in early embryos. SS-OCT structural imaging was used for the reconstruction of embryo morphology and the orientation of blood vessels, which is required for calculating flow velocity from the Doppler measurements. Spatially and temporally resolved blood flow profiles are presented for the dorsal aorta and a yolk sac vessel in a 9.5-day embryo. We demonstrate that DSS-OCT can be successfully used for structural analysis and spatially and temporally resolved hemodynamic measurements in developing early mammalian embryos.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology*
  • Coronary Circulation / physiology*
  • Coronary Vessels / anatomy & histology
  • Coronary Vessels / embryology*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry / instrumentation*
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry / methods
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods