Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

In vivo virtual histology of mouse embryogenesis by ultrasound biomicroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging

P. Pallares A , M. E. Fernandez-Valle B and A. Gonzalez-Bulnes C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A BIONOSTRA, S.L. Ronda de Poniente, 4. 28760-Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain.

B Centro de Apoyo a la Investigación de Resonancia Magnética Nuclear, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040-Madrid, Spain.

C Departamento de Reproduccion Animal, INIA, Avda. Puerta de Hierro s/n. 28040-Madrid, Spain.

D Corresponding author. Email: bulnes@inia.es

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 21(2) 283-292 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD08124
Submitted: 1 June 2008  Accepted: 8 September 2008   Published: 27 January 2009

Abstract

Feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) for sequential in vivo study of mouse embryo development between Days 6.5 and 13.5 of pregnancy was assessed in a first experiment. A second trial, based on the results of the first, determined the accuracy of UBM for imaging morphogenesis from implantation to the late embryo stage (Days 4.5 to 15.5). MRI allowed imaging of the entire uterus and all gestational sacs and embryos inside whilst the small scanning range of UBM precluded accurate counting of fetuses; however, its high resolution identified the decidual reaction at implantation sites from Day 4.5. At later stages, it was possible to assess key morphogenetic processes such as differentiation of the placenta, the cephalic region, the thoracic and abdominal organs, the skeletal system and the limbs, and dynamic structures such as the cardiovascular system. Thus, both techniques are reliable for in utero imaging of mouse embryo development. MRI may be more appropriate for studying embryo lethality and intrauterine growth retardation, because the entire uterus can be viewed. UBM may be more suitable for studies of cellular components of organs and tissues and assessment of haemodynamic changes in the circulatory system.

Additional keywords: morphogenesis, pregnancy.


Acknowledgements

The present study was carried out as part of a collaborative project (CC07–018) between the CNIC and the INIA. The CNIC is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs and the Pro-CNIC Foundation, whilst the INIA is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science Affairs; there was no other outside funding. Authors thank the staff of CNIC Animal Unit for skilled technical assistance and Dr S. Bartlett for editorial assistance.


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