Four-dimensional live imaging of hemodynamics in mammalian embryonic heart with Doppler optical coherence tomography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Tomsk State University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-847
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of biophotonics
Issue number8
StatusPublished - Aug 1 2016


Hemodynamic analysis of the mouse embryonic heart is essential for understanding the functional aspects of early cardiogenesis and advancing the research in congenital heart defects. However, high-resolution imaging of cardiac hemodynamics in mammalian models remains challenging, primarily due to the dynamic nature and deep location of the embryonic heart. Here we report four-dimensional micro-scale imaging of blood flow in the early mouse embryonic heart, enabling time-resolved measurement and analysis of flow velocity throughout the heart tube. Our method uses Doppler optical coherence tomography in live mouse embryo culture, and employs a post-processing synchronization approach to reconstruct three-dimensional data over time at a 100 Hz volume rate. Experiments were performed on live mouse embryos at embryonic day 9.0. Our results show blood flow dynamics inside the beating heart, with the capability for quantitative flow velocity assessment in the primitive atrium, atrioventricular and bulboventricular regions, and bulbus cordis. Combined cardiodynamic and hemodynamic analysis indicates this functional imaging method can be utilized to further investigate the mechanical relationship between blood flow dynamics and cardiac wall movement, bringing new possibilities to study biomechanics in early mammalian cardiogenesis. Four-dimensional live hemodynamic imaging of the mouse embryonic heart at embryonic day 9.0 using Doppler optical coherence tomography, showing directional blood flows in the sinus venosus, primitive atrium, atrioventricular region and vitelline vein.

    Research areas

  • Doppler optical coherence tomography, cardiac hemodynamics, live imaging, mouse embryo, retrograde blood flow