Tridimensional Visualization and Analysis of Early Human Development
The study published in the journal Cell used 3D images of human embryos that revealed previously unknown features of human development. The images showed that an adult-like pattern of skin innervation is established before the end of the first trimester
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Generating a precise cellular and molecular cartography of the human embryo is essential to our understanding of the mechanisms of organogenesis in normal and pathological conditions. Here, we have combined whole-mount immunostaining, 3DISCO clearing, and light-sheet imaging to start building a 3D cellular map of the human development during the first trimester of gestation. We provide high-resolution 3D images of the developing peripheral nervous, muscular, vascular, cardiopulmonary, and urogenital systems. We found that the adult-like pattern of skin innervation is established before the end of the first trimester, showing important intra- and inter-individual variations in nerve branches. We also present evidence for a differential vascularization of the male and female genital tracts concomitant with sex determination. This work paves the way for a cellular and molecular reference atlas of human cells, which will be of paramount importance to understanding human development in health and disease.