Live imaging of rat embryos with Doppler swept-source optical coherence tomography

J Biomed Opt. 2009 Sep-Oct;14(5):050506. doi: 10.1117/1.3241044.


The rat has long been considered an excellent system to study mammalian embryonic cardiovascular physiology, but has lacked the extensive genetic tools available in the mouse to be able to create single gene mutations. However, the recent establishment of rat embryonic stem cell lines facilitates the generation of new models in the rat embryo to link changes in physiology with altered gene function to define the underlying mechanisms behind congenital cardiovascular birth defects. Along with the ability to create new rat genotypes there is a strong need for tools to analyze phenotypes with high spatial and temporal resolution. Doppler OCT has been previously used for 3-D structural analysis and blood flow imaging in other model species. We use Doppler swept-source OCT for live imaging of early postimplantation rat embryos. Structural imaging is used for 3-D reconstruction of embryo morphology and dynamic imaging of the beating heart and vessels, while Doppler-mode imaging is used to visualize blood flow. We demonstrate that Doppler swept-source OCT can provide essential information about the dynamics of early rat embryos and serve as a basis for a wide range of studies on functional evaluation of rat embryo physiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Mammalian / anatomy & histology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Female
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry / instrumentation*
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry / methods
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred WKY
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / veterinary*