Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Imaging life as it happens: researchers capture video of embryonic heart before it begins to beat

Date:
April 3, 2010
Source:
University of Houston
Summary:
Researchers are imaging life as it happens by capturing video of the embryonic heart before it begins beating. They are documenting the formation of the mammalian heart through a high-resolution, noninvasive imaging device, providing perhaps the best live imagery taken of the vital organ.

Kirill Larin, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UH, works in his lab documenting the formation of the mammalian heart through a high-resolution, noninvasive imaging device, providing perhaps the best live imagery taken of the vital organ.
Credit: Mark Lacy

Imagine being able to image life as it happens by capturing video of the embryonic heart before it begins beating. A professor at the University of Houston, in collaboration with scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, is doing just that.

Kirill Larin, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Cullen College of Engineering at UH, and his colleagues in the Texas Medical Center are documenting the formation of the mammalian heart through a high-resolution, non-invasive imaging device, providing perhaps the best live imagery taken of the vital organ.

"Everything we know about early development of the heart and formation of the vasculature system comes from in vitro studies of fixed tissue samples or studies of amphibian and fish embryos," Larin said. "With this technology, we are able to image life as it happens, see the heart beat in a mammal for the very first time."

Using optical-coherence tomography (OCT), a technique that relies on a depth-resolved analysis created by the reflection of an infrared laser beam off an object, Larin and his colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine's Dickinson Lab are using the technique to study what leads to cardiovascular abnormalities. Whereas ultrasound uses sound waves to create viewable, yet grainy, video images, OCT uses optical contrast and infrared broadband laser sources to help generate a real-time, high-resolution output.

"We are using OCT to image mouse and rat embryos, looking at video taken about seven days after conception, out of a 20-day typical mammalian pregnancy," Larin said. "This way, we are able to capture video of the embryonic heart before it begins beating, and a day later we can see the heart beginning to form in the shape of a tube and see whether or not the chambers are contracting. Then, we begin to see blood distribution and the heart rate."

Over the course of several years, Larin has been refining his laser-based spectroscopic imaging system to provide high-resolution images of protein biomarkers in blood samples and to study tissue samples to explore factors contributing to disease states. He has been working to adapt this technology to capture video of mammalian heart chambers, since they more closely relate to that of the human.

With funding from a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Larin plans to modify the device not only to improve the resolution but also speed the imaging process to further the study of developmental processes in animals with known heart abnormalities. With these higher speeds and increased resolution, Larin says they will be able to observe the dynamics, what factors into the formation of the heart and what causes developmental problems. Ultimately, he and his collaborators aim to discover how different gene mutations affect cardiovascular development and reduce the number of babies born with abnormities, as well as shed light on how to prevent and treat heart-related problems before birth.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Houston. "Imaging life as it happens: researchers capture video of embryonic heart before it begins to beat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401173836.htm>.
University of Houston. (2010, April 3). Imaging life as it happens: researchers capture video of embryonic heart before it begins to beat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401173836.htm
University of Houston. "Imaging life as it happens: researchers capture video of embryonic heart before it begins to beat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401173836.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins