Feature Of The Week 11/13/11: OCT Used for Analysis of Developmental Defects in Zebrafish Embryos
It is known that consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to several disorders ranging from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), alcohol related birth defects, and neuro developmental defects. Zebrafish is a popular model to understand the mechanisms of embryonic ethanol exposure generated disorders. To track these developmental defects, a noninvasive imaging technique like OCT could be useful, as it provides high-resolution cross-sectional images of tissues. Further, current high-speed OCT technology enables repeated imaging studies to be performed on the same specimen and can be useful for imaging the internal anatomical structures such as eye.
Researchers at Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore, India, have recently used a real time spectral domain OCT to monitor ethanol-induced developmental defects in Zebrafish embryos/larvae. In this study the embryos were exposed to ethanol at varying concentrations in the range 150-350mM for 48 hours post fertilization and OCT imaging was performed at regular intervals both on unexposed (controls) and ethanol treated samples. The study showed prominent changes in the internal structure of the eye including shrinkage of the eye and less featured retinal bands in the ethanol exposed samples. Also the diminished light scattering observed from retinal layers indicated morphological alterations in retina. Further, the ethanol exposed larvae showed malformations in the spinal chord as evidenced by the distortions in the notochord and bending of tails. As there is a growing interest in attenuating the deleterious effect of toxins through use of anti-oxidants, OCT imaging may prove to be a valuable tool in the study of developmental toxicology and drug screening.
For more information see recent Article. Courtesy K. Divakar Rao from the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology.