Date: 09 Oct 2012

The Rat Whole Embryo Culture Assay Using the Dysmorphology Score System

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The rat whole embryo culture (WEC) system has been used extensively for characterizing teratogenic properties of test chemicals. In this chapter, we describe the methodology for culturing rat embryos as well as a new morphological score system, the Dysmorphology Score (DMS) system for assessing morphology of mid gestation (gestational day 11) rat embryos. In contrast to the developmental stage focused scoring associated with the Brown and Fabro score system, this new score system assesses the respective degree of severity of dysmorphology, which delineates normal from abnormal morphology of specific embryonic structures and organ systems. This score system generates an approach that allows rapid identification and quantification of adverse developmental findings, making it conducive for characterization of compounds for teratogenic properties and screening activities.