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Changes in the dielectric properties of medaka fish embryos during development, studied by electrorotation

: Shirakashi, R.; Mischke, M.; Fischer, P.; Memmel, S.; Krohne, G.; Schartl, M.; Fuhr, G.R.; Zimmermann, H.; Sukhorukov, V.L.


Biochemical and biophysical research communications 428 (2012), No.1, pp.127-131
ISSN: 0006-291X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

The Japanese medaka fish, Oryzias latipes, has become a powerful vertebrate model organism in developmental biology and genetics. The present study explores the dielectric properties of medaka embryos during pre-hatching development by means of the electrorotation (ROT) technique. Due to their layered structure, medaka eggs exhibited up to three ROT peaks in the kHz–MHz frequency range. During development from blastula to early somite stage, ROT spectra varied only slightly. But as the embryo progressed to the late-somite stage, the ROT peaks underwent significant changes in frequency and amplitude. Using morphological data obtained by light and electron microscopy, we analyzed the ROT spectra with a three-shell dielectric model that accounted for the major embryonic compartments. The analysis yielded a very high value for the ionic conductivity of the egg shell (chorion), which was confirmed by independent osmotic experiments. A relatively low capacitance of the yolk envelope was consistent with its double-membrane structure revealed by transmission electron microscopy. Yolk-free dead eggs exhibited only one co-field ROT peak, shifted markedly to lower frequencies with respect to the corresponding peak of live embryos. The dielectric data may be useful for monitoring the development and changes in fish embryos’ viability/conditions in basic research and industrial aquaculture.