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J Biomed Opt. 2013 Jan;18(1):10503. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.1.010503.

Understanding three-dimensional spatial relationship between the mouse second polar body and first cleavage plane with full-field optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1Tsinghua University, Department of Physics and State Key Lab of Low-Dimensional Quantum Physics, Beijing 100084, China.


The morphogenetic relationship between early patterning and polarity formation is of fundamental interest and remains a controversial issue in preimplantation embryonic development. We use a label-free three-dimensional (3-D) imaging technique of full-field optical coherence tomography (FF-OCT) successfully for the first time to study the dynamics of developmental processes in mouse preimplantation lives. Label-free 3-D subcellular time-lapse images are demonstrated to investigate 3-D spatial relationship between the second polar body (2PB) and the first cleavage plane. By using FF-OCT together with quantitative study, we show that only 25% of the predicted first cleavage planes, defined by the apposing plane of two pronuclei, pass through the 2PB. Also only 27% of the real cleavage planes pass through the 2PB. These results suggest that the 2PB is not a convincing spatial cue for the event of the first cleavage. Our studies demonstrate the feasibility of FF-OCT in providing new insights and potential breakthroughs to the controversial issues of early patterning and polarity in mammalian developmental biology.

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