We constructed a developmental atlas of the mouse cardiovascular system using episcopic fluorescence image capture (EFIC), a histological imaging techniques that provides serial 2D histological images that are high resolution and in complete registration. These 2D image stacks can be readily resliced in any arbitrary imaging plane, and using these 2D image stacks, 3D reconstructions of the specimen can be generated with ease. Using EFIC imaging, we have constructed a developmental atlas of cardiovascular development in the mouse embryo, starting from embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5) through E18.5 to term.
Using images from these 2D image stacks, we generated annotations to illustrate major cardiovascular structures as they emerge during development. This is illustrated in 2D image stacks presented in three orthogonal planes. We also include 3D reconstructions to illustrate important features of the cardiovascular anatomy in the developing fetus. Selected QTVRs were also generated from the 3D volumes to allow user exploration of the cardiovascular anatomy.
The overall goal in generating this interactive 3D mouse cardiovascular developmental atlas is to provide a better understanding of the complex anatomical changes that occur with cardiac morphogenesis. It also serves as an invaluable tool for the diagnosis of congenital heart defects in mutant mouse models. We provide examples of EFIC 2D image stacks and 3D reconstructions of a variety of congenital cardiovascular anomalies seen in various knockout and mutant mouse models recovered from a large scale mouse mutagenesis screen for mutations causing congenital heart defects.
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