High Resolution Imaging of Mouse Embryos and Neonates with X-Ray Micro-Computed Tomography

Curr Protoc Mouse Biol. 2019 Jun;9(2):e63. doi: 10.1002/cpmo.63. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


Iodine-contrast micro-computed tomography (microCT) 3D imaging provides a non-destructive and high-throughput platform for studying mouse embryo and neonate development. Here we provide protocols on preparing mouse embryos and neonates between embryonic day 8.5 (E8.5) to postnatal day 4 (P4) for iodine-contrast microCT imaging. With the implementation of the STABILITY method to create a polymer-tissue hybrid structure, we have demonstrated that not only is soft tissue shrinkage minimized but also the minimum required time for soft tissue staining with iodine is decreased, especially for E18.5 to P4 samples. In addition, we also provide a protocol on using commercially available X-CLARITYTM hydrogel solution to create the similar polymer-tissue hybrid structure on delicate early post-implantation stage (E8.5 to E14.5) embryos. With its simple sample staining and mounting processes, this protocol is easy to adopt and implement for most of the commercially available, stand-alone microCT systems in order to study mouse development between early post-implantation to early postnatal stages. © 2019 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: STABILITY; X-CLARITY; iodine contrasting; microCT.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Contrast Media / therapeutic use*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Iodine Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Mice*
  • X-Ray Microtomography / instrumentation
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Iodine Compounds
  • iodine potassium iodide