The venous system of E14.5 mouse embryos-reference data and examples for diagnosing malformations in embryos with gene deletions
Approximately one-third of randomly produced knockout mouse lines produce homozygous offspring, which fail to survive the perinatal period. The majority of these die around or after embryonic day (E)14.5, presumably from cardiovascular insufficiency. For diagnosing structural abnormalities underlying death and diseases and for researching gene function, the phenotype of these individuals has to be analysed. This makes the creation of reference data, which define normal anatomy and normal variations the highest priority. While such data do exist for the heart and arteries, they are still missing for the venous system. Here we provide high-quality descriptive and metric information on the normal anatomy of the venous system of E14.5 embryos. Using high-resolution digital volume data and 3D models from 206 genetically normal embryos, bred on the C57BL/6N background, we present precise descriptive and metric information of the venous system as it presents itself in each of the six developmental stages of E14.5. The resulting data shed new light on the maturation and remodelling of the venous system at transition of embryo to foetal life and provide a reference that can be used for detecting venous abnormalities in mutants. To explore this capacity, we analysed the venous phenotype of embryos from 7 knockout lines (Atp11a, Morc2a, 1700067K01Rik, B9d2, Oaz1, Celf4 and Coro1c). Careful comparisons enabled the diagnosis of not only simple malformations, such as dual inferior vena cava, but also complex and subtle abnormalities, which would have escaped diagnosis in the absence of detailed, stage-specific referenced data.
Journal of Anatomy. 2022 Jan;240(1):11-22. doi: 10.1111/joa.13536. Epub 2021 Aug 25.