In the study of cell fate, cell lineage, and morphogenetic transformation it is necessary to obtain 3-D data. Serial sections of glutaraldehyde fixed and glycol methacrylate embedded material provide high resolution data. Clonal spread during germ layer formation in the mouse embryo has been followed by labeling a progenitor epiblast cell with horseradish peroxidase and staining its descendants one or two days later, followed by histological processing. Reconstruction of a 3-D image from histological sections must provide a solution for the alignment problem. As we want to study images at different magnification levels, we have chosen a method in which the sections are aligned under the microscope. Positioning is possible through a translation and a rotation stage. The first step for reconstruction is a coarse alignment on the basis of the moments in a binary, low magnification image of the embedding block. Thereafter, images of higher magnification levels are aligned by optimizing a similarity measure between the images. To analyze, first a global 3-D second order surface is fitted on the image to obtain the orientation of the embryo. The coefficients of this fit are used to normalize the size of the different embryos. Thereafter, the image is resampled with respect to the surface to create a 2-D mapping of the embryo and to guide the segmentation of the different cell layers which make up the embryo.
"Three-dimensional image analysis as a tool for embryology", Proc. SPIE 1660, Biomedical Image Processing and Three-Dimensional Microscopy, (26 June 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.59610; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.59610