The method of rodent whole embryo culture using the rotator-type bottle culture system

Masanori Takahashi, Noriko Osumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Whole embryo culture (WEC) technique has been developed in 1950's by New and his colleagues, and applied for developmental biology. Although development and growth of mammalian embryos are critically dependent on the function of the placenta, WEC technique allows us to culture mouse and rat embryos ex vivo condition during limited periods corresponding to midgestation stages during embryonic day (E) 6.5-E12.5 in the mouse or E8.5-E14.5 in the rat. In WEC, we can directly target desired areas of embryos using fine glass capillaries because embryos can be manipulated under the microscope. Therefore, rodent WEC is very useful technique when we want to study dynamic developmental processes of postimplanted mammalian embryos. Up to date, several types of WEC systems have been developed. Among those, the rotator-type bottle culture system is most popular and suitable for long-term culture of embryos at midgestation, i.e., after E9.5 and E11.5 in the mouse and rat, respectively. In this video protocol, we demonstrate our standard procedures of rat WEC after E12.5 using a refined model of the original rotator system, which was designed by New and Cockroft, and introduce various applications of WEC technique for studies in mammalian developmental biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2170
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Aug


  • Cell labeling
  • Developmental biology
  • Electroporation
  • Imaging of cell behavior
  • Issue 42
  • Mouse
  • Rat
  • Whole embryo culture


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