Optical coherence tomography for high-resolution imaging of mouse development in utero

J Biomed Opt. 2011 Apr;16(4):046004. doi: 10.1117/1.3560300.


Although the mouse is a superior model to study mammalian embryonic development, high-resolution live dynamic visualization of mouse embryos remain a technical challenge. We present optical coherence tomography as a novel methodology for live imaging of mouse embryos through the uterine wall thereby allowing for time lapse analysis of developmental processes and direct phenotypic analysis of developing embryos. We assessed the capability of the proposed methodology to visualize structures of the living embryo from embryonic stages 12.5 to 18.5 days postcoitus. Repetitive in utero embryonic imaging is demonstrated. Our work opens the door for a wide range of live, in utero embryonic studies to screen for mutations and understand the effects of pharmacological and toxicological agents leading to birth defects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Mammalian / anatomy & histology
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Mice / embryology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*