The etiology of craniofacial defects is incompletely understood. The ability to obtain large amounts of gene sequence data from families affected by craniofacial defects is opening up new ways to understand molecular genetic etiological factors. One important link between gene sequence data and clinical relevance is biological research into candidate genes and molecular pathways. We present our recent research using OCT as a nondestructive phenotyping modality of craniofacial morphology in Xenopus embryos, an important animal model for biological research in gene and pathway discovery. We define 2D and 3D scanning protocols for a standardized approach to craniofacial imaging in Xenopus embryos. We define standard views and planar reconstructions for visualizing normal anatomy and landmarks. We compare these views and reconstructions to traditional histopathology using alcian blue staining. In addition to being 3D, nondestructive, and having much faster throughout, OCT can identify craniofacial features that are lost during traditional histopathological preparation. We also identify quantitative morphometric parameters to define normative craniofacial anatomy. We also note that craniofacial and cardiac defects are not infrequently present in the same patient (e.g velocardiofacial syndrome). Given that OCT excels at certain aspects of cardiac imaging in Xenopus embryos, our work highlights the potential of using OCT and Xenopus to study molecular genetic factors that impact both cardiac and craniofacial development.
Engin Deniz, Stephan M. Jonas, John Griffin, Michael C. Hooper, Michael A. Choma, and Mustafa K. Khokha, "OCT imaging of craniofacial anatomy in xenopus embryos
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9716, Optical Methods in Developmental Biology IV, 97160F (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 13, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2213448.4848767652001.
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