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Multimodal optical imaging combining optical coherence tomography and Brillouin microscopy

Yogeshwari S. Ambekar,1 Manmohan Singh,1 Alexzander Schill,1 Jitao Zhang,2 Christian Zevallos,1 Salavat Aglyamov,3 Giuliano Scarcelli,2 Kirill V. Larin,1,4
1 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
2 Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
4 Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA


We developed a multimodal, non-invasive, all-optical imaging combining optical coherence tomography (OCT) and Brillouin microscopy to simultaneously map structural and biomechanical changes involved in neural tube closure. A series of complex processes involved in neural tube formation and closure are crucial for embryonic development. All these processes are driven by forces, so it is important to understand the interplay between forces and stiffness and tissue resistance to deformation within embryonic tissue environments. Various techniques have been used earlier to determine the biomechanical properties of embryos during embryogenesis. But some of those techniques lack spatio-temporal resolution or are invasive or involve the use of external agents. Here we use OCT to provides structural guidance to Brillouin microscopy to maps the stiffness of the neural tube during formation and closure in the murine model. Neural tube starts forming at gestation day (GD) 8 in the mouse model and by the end of GD9.5, the neural tube closes completely. 2D structural and mechanical map of CD1 mouse embryos at GD8.5 and GD9.5 was acquired with the developed multimodal system. We observed that the Brillouin frequency shift at GD8.5 is lower compared to GD9.5, which corresponds to increased stiffness at GD9.5. Also, we observed that the neuroepithelium layer in the mouse embryos at GD9.5 is stiffer than the mesoderm layer. Combining OCT and Brillouin microscopy in one sample arm shows that this technique can map biomechanical properties of the required region of the neural tube in mouse embryos with structural guidance. Our next steps will be to simultaneously map structural and biomechanical changes during neural tube closure in normal and diseased models of neural tube defects.

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Yogeshwari Sanjayrao Ambekar
University of Houston
United States of America


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