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Motion-Artifact-Free In Vivo Imaging Utilizing Narcotized Avian Embryos In Ovo

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The chick embryo in ovo is a well-accessible and economical in vivo model, but its use in molecular imaging has been limited because of motion artifacts on resulting images. The purpose of this study was to develop a method using narcotics to inhibit motility and to perform motion-artifact-free imaging of living chick embryos in ovo.


Chick embryos in ovo were narcotized using three different narcotics: isoflurane, 2,2,2-tribromoethanol, and urethane/α-chloralose. Narcotized embryos were imaged using micro-computed tomography (microCT) at days 10–18 of incubation, and the resulting images were analyzed for reduction of motion artifacts.


All three anesthetics could be used for anesthetizing living chick embryos in ovo thus allowing the acquisition of motion-artifact-free images.


Our experiments revealed that isoflurane is the best-suited narcotic for single and repeated applications to image living chick embryos in ovo.

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This work was funded by the BMBF (Grant no. 0314108). We are grateful to Melanie Grigsby for proofreading the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Author information

Correspondence to Hans Peter Saluz.

Additional information

Alexander Heidrich and Lydia Würbach contributed equally to this work.

Elecronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary figure 1

Sample CT images for each day of incubation studied and for each anesthetic tested as well as an untreated chick embryo in ovo as control. S sagittal slice; C coronal slice; arrows point to head of the chick embryo (PDF 788 kb)

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Heidrich, A., Würbach, L., Opfermann, T. et al. Motion-Artifact-Free In Vivo Imaging Utilizing Narcotized Avian Embryos In Ovo . Mol Imaging Biol 13, 208–214 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11307-010-0355-4

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Key words

  • Anesthesia
  • Motion artifact
  • Chick embryo
  • In vivo
  • In ovo
  • PET/CT
  • MicroCT
  • Model organism