Magnetic resonance microscopy of embryonic cell lineages and movements

Science  04 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5147, pp. 681-684
DOI: 10.1126/science.7508143


Key events in vertebrate embryogenesis are difficult to observe in many species. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging was used to follow cell movements and lineages in developing frog embryos. A single cell was injected at the 16-cell stage with a contrast agent, based on the gadolinium chelate gadolinium-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid-dextran. The labeled progeny cells could be followed uniquely in three-dimensional magnetic resonance images, acquired from the embryo over several days. The results show that external ectodermal and internal mesodermal tissues extend at different rates during amphibian gastrulation and neurulation.