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J Microsc. 2007 Mar;225(Pt 3):269-74.

Three-dimensional measurement and visualization of morphogenesis applied to cardiac embryology.

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Heart Failure Research Center, Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Academic Research Center, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Volume growth and proliferation are key processes in heart morphogenesis, yet their regionalization during development of the heart has been described only anecdotally. To study the contribution of cardiomyocyte proliferation to heart development, a quantitative reconstruction method was designed, allowing the local mapping of this morphogenetic process. First, a morphological surface reconstruction is made of the heart, using sections stained specifically for cardiomyocytes. Then, by a comprehensive series of image processing steps, local three-dimensional (3D) information of proliferation is obtained. These local quantitative data are then mapped onto the morphological surface reconstruction, resulting in a reconstruction that not only provides morphological information (qualitative), but also displays local information on proliferation rate (quantitative). The resulting 3D quantitative reconstructions revealed novel observations regarding the morphogenesis of the heart.

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