Three-dimensional reconstructions from optical sections of thick mouse inner ears using confocal microscopy

B. J. Kopecky, J. S. Duncan, K. L. Elliott, B. Fritzsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of the vertebrate inner ear have provided novel insights into the development of this complex organ. 3D reconstructions enable superior analysis of phenotypic differences between wild type and mutant ears but can result in laborious work when reconstructed from physically sectioned material. Although nondestructive optical sectioning light sheet microscopy may ultimately prove the ideal solution, these technologies are not yet commercially available, or in many instances are not monetarily feasible. Here we introduce a simple technique to image a fluorescently labelled ear at different stages throughout development at high resolution enabling 3D reconstruction of any component of the inner ear using confocal microscopy. We provide a step-by-step manual from tissue preparation to imaging to 3D reconstruction and analysis including a rationale and troubleshooting guide at each step for researchers with different equipment, protocols, and access to resources to successfully incorporate the principles of this method and customize them to their laboratory settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Inner ear
  • Mouse
  • Segmentation
  • Three-dimensional reconstruction


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional reconstructions from optical sections of thick mouse inner ears using confocal microscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this