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Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1189:47-61. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1164-6_4.

Micro/nano-computed tomography technology for quantitative dynamic, multi-scale imaging of morphogenesis.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University, 304 Weill Hall, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Tissue morphogenesis and embryonic development are dynamic events challenging to quantify, especially considering the intricate events that happen simultaneously in different locations and time. Micro- and more recently nano-computed tomography (micro/nanoCT) has been used for the past 15 years to characterize large 3D fields of tortuous geometries at high spatial resolution. We and others have advanced micro/nanoCT imaging strategies for quantifying tissue- and organ-level fate changes throughout morphogenesis. Exogenous soft tissue contrast media enables visualization of vascular lumens and tissues via extravasation. Furthermore, the emergence of antigen-specific tissue contrast enables direct quantitative visualization of protein and mRNA expression. Micro-CT X-ray doses appear to be non-embryotoxic, enabling longitudinal imaging studies in live embryos. In this chapter we present established soft tissue contrast protocols for obtaining high-quality micro/nanoCT images and the image processing techniques useful for quantifying anatomical and physiological information from the data sets.

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