Utility of fluorescence microscopy in embryonic/fetal topographical analysis

Teratology. 1995 Jun;51(6):430-4. doi: 10.1002/tera.1420510608.


For topographical analysis of developing embryos, investigators typically rely on scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to provide the surface detail not attainable with light microscopy. SEM is an expensive and time-consuming technique, however, and the preparation procedure may alter morphology and leave the specimen friable. We report that by using a high-resolution compound epifluorescence microscope with inexpensive low-power objectives and the fluorochrome acridine orange, we were able to obtain surface images of fixed or fresh whole rat embryos and fetal palates of considerably greater topographical detail than those obtained using routine light microscopy. Indeed the resulting high-resolution images afford not only superior qualitative documentation of morphological observations, but the capability for detailed morphometry via digitization and computer-assisted image analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Mammalian / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley