Human MorphogenesisHuman Health Science

M.D., Ph.D. Professor Tetsuya Takakuwa

Many people – some scientists, others not – are interested in early human development because it is closely
related to the basic and important question: What are we and where have we come from? In our laboratory, morphogenesis during human embryonic and early-fetal period has been analysed using digitized datasets include high-resolution MRI, phase-contrast X-ray CT, and digitized histological serial sections obtained from the Kyoto Collection to reveal normal development as well as to elucidate the causes and pathogenesis of birth defects and to attempt to identify some preventive measures.

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Human embryonic and early-fetal period has been analyzed three-dimensionally using digitized datasets. The digital data have gross merits that enabled us to develop various analyses, which accelerate the speed of morphological observations using precise and improve methods by providing a suitable plane for a morphometric analysis from many specimens. Morphometric data are useful for quantitatively evaluating and demonstrating the features of development and for screening abnormal samples, which may be suggestive in the pathogenesis of congenital malformations. The 3D coordinates of anatomical landmarks is provided for analyzing the positional change of interested landmarks and their relationships, and for mathematical analysis as well as statistical analysis such as Procrustes analysis and principle component analysis. Our 3D analysis may serve to provide accurate morphologic data, including the dynamics of embryonic structures related to developmental stages, which is required for insights into the dynamic and complex processes occurring during organogenesis. Our study could aid in differentiating normal and abnormal development, which may lead to prenatal diagnosis in the embryonic and early fetal period.




  1. Takakuwa T, Saizonou MA, Fujii S, Kumano Y, Ishikawa A, Aoyama T, Imai H, Yamada S, Kanahashi T. Femoral posture during embryonic and early fetal development: An analysis using landmarks on the cartilaginous skeletons of ex vivo human specimens. PLOS one, 2023, 18(5): e0285190.
  2. Kanahashi T, Imai H, Otani H, Yamada S, Yoneyama A, Takakuwa T. Three-dimensional morphogenesis of the human diaphragm during the late embryonic and early fetal period: Analysis using T1-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging. J Anat. 2023, 252(2),174-190, DOI: 10.1111/joa.13760
  3. Nohara A, Owaki N, Matsubayashi J, Katsube M, Imai H, Yoneyama A, Yamada S, Kanahashi T, Takakuwa T. Morphometric analysis of secondary palate development in human embryos. J Anat, 2022, 241(6), 1287-1302, 2022, DOI:10.1111/joa.13745
  4. Kakeya M, Matsubayashi J, Kanahashi T, Männer J, Yamada S, Takakuwa T. The return process of physiological umbilical herniation in human fetuses: the possible role of the vascular tree and umbilical ring. J Anat 2022, 241(3), 846-859.
  5. Yamazaki Y, Kanahashi T, Yamada S, Männer J, Takakuwa T. Three-dimensional analysis of human laryngeal and tracheobronchial cartilages during the late embryonic and early fetal period. Cells Tissues Organs, 2022, 211,1-15,


Professor: Tetsuya Takakuwa MD, PhD

Human Health Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
606-8507 Sakyo-ku Shogoin Kawahara-cyo 53, Kyoto, Japan

TEL 075-751-3931/3956

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