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Live imaging of mammalian embryos can elucidate human embryonic development, which is governed by several genetic and environmental factors. Improvements in the acquisition and quality of imaging modalities can potentially contribute to understanding, prevention, and, eventually, treatment of congenital birth defects. This dissertation is devoted to investigate the morphological changes which are associated with mouse embryonic development, using optical coherence tomography (OCT). Firstly, the remodeling of the yolk sac vasculature in a mouse embryo is analyzed. Detection of 3D vasculature using Doppler OCT and speckle variance (SV) OCT were compared. The results demonstrate that SVOCT provides more accurate representation of the vascular structure, as it is not sensitive to the blood flow direction. Secondly, the development of ocular tissues from E13.5 to E18.5 was monitored in utero. The volumes of the eye lens and eye globe was used as the parameter to monitor the development of ocular structures. Results demonstrated the capability of OCT for high-resolution, high-contrast imaging of ocular development in mouse embryos in utero. Thirdly, OCT was compared with high-resolution ultrasound (US) to study the effects of prenatal exposure to ethanol on brain development. Volume of the lateral ventricles was used to assess the effect of ethanol exposure between the control and ethanol-exposed fetuses. The results demonstrated that the volume of lateral ventricles was twice as high in ethanol-exposed fetuses compared to the control ones. The results also demonstrated clear advantages of using OCT for quantitative assessment of embryonic brain development compared to US imaging.



Optical coherence tomography (OCT), Mouse embryo, Live imaging, Embryology