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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / A qualitative comparison of 3D visualization in Xenopus laevis using a traditional method and a non-destructive method

Emilie Descamps, Jan Buytaert, Barbara De Kegel, Joris Dirckx, and Dominique Adriaens (2012)

A qualitative comparison of 3D visualization in Xenopus laevis using a traditional method and a non-destructive method


Many tools are currently available to investigate and visualize soft and hard tissues in animals both in high-resolution and three dimensions. The most popular and traditional method is based on destructive histological techniques. However, these techniques have some specific limitations. In order to avoid those limitations, various non-destructive approaches have surfaced in the last decades. One of those is micro-CT-scanning. In the best conditions, resolution achieved in micro-CT currently approaches that of standard histological protocols. In addition to bone, soft tissues can also be made visible through micro-CT-scanning. However, discriminating between structures of the same tissue and among different tissue types remains a challenge. An alternative approach, which has not yet been explored to its full potential for comparative anatomy studies, is Orthogonal-Plane Fluorescence Optical Sectioning (OPFOS) microscopy or tomography, also known as (Laser) Light Sheet based Fluorescence Microscopy (LSFM). In this study, we compare OPFOS with light microscopy, applying those techniques to the model organism Xenopus laevis. The potential of both methods for discrimination between different types of tissues, as well as different structures of the same tissue type, is tested and illustrated. Since the histological sections provided a better resolution, adjacent structures of the same tissue type could be discerned more easily compared to our OPFOS images. However, we obtained a more naturally-shaped 3D model of the musculoskeletal system of Xenopus laevis with OPFOS. An overview of the advantages and disadvantages of both techniques is given and their applicability for a wider scope of biological research is discussed.

vertebrates; histological sectioning; optical sectioning; Xenopus; 3D visualization
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology