VEGF is required for growth and survival in neonatal mice.
We employed two independent approaches to inactivate the angiogenic protein VEGF in newborn mice: inducible, Cre-loxP- mediated gene targeting, or administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, a soluble VEGF receptor chimeric protein. Partial inhibition of VEGF achieved by inducible gene targeting resulted in increased mortality, stunted body growth and impaired organ development, most notably of the liver. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG, which achieves a higher degree of VEGF inhibition, resulted in nearly complete growth arrest and lethality. Ultrastructural analysis documented alterations in endothelial and other cell types. Histological and biochemical changes consistent with liver and renal failure were observed. Endothelial cells isolated from the liver of mFlt(1-3)-IgG-treated neonates demonstrated an increased apoptotic index, indicating that VEGF is required not only for proliferation but also for survival of endothelial cells. However, such treatment resulted in less significant alterations as the animal matured, and the dependence on VEGF was eventually lost some time after the fourth postnatal week. Administration of mFlt(1-3)-IgG to juvenile mice failed to induce apoptosis in liver endothelial cells. Thus, VEGF is essential for growth and survival in early postnatal life. However, in the fully developed animal, VEGF is likely to be involved primarily in active angiogenesis processes such as corpus luteum development. (+info)
Screening for congenital heart malformation in child health centres.
BACKGROUND: Although screening for congenital heart malformations is part of the child health care programme in several countries, there are very few published evaluations of these activities. This report is concerned with the evaluation of this screening at the Dutch Child Health Centres (CHC). METHODS: All consecutive patients, aged between 32 days and 4 years, presented at the Sophia Children's Hospital Rotterdam throughout a period of 2 years, with a congenital heart malformation were included in this study. Paediatric cardiologists established whether or not these patients were diagnosed after haemodynamic complications had already developed (diagnosed 'too late'). Parents and CHC-physicians were interviewed in order to establish the screening and detection history. Test properties were established for all patients with a congenital heart malformation (n = 290), intended effects of screening were established in patients with clinically significant malformations (n = 82). RESULTS: The sensitivity of the actual screening programme was 0.57 (95% CI : 0.51-0.62), the specificity 0.985 (95% CI : 0.981-0.990) and the predictive value of a positive test result 0.13 (95% CI: 0.10-0.19). Sensitivity in a subpopulation of patients adequately screened was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.74-0.96). Adequately screened patients were less likely to be diagnosed 'too late' than inadequately screened patients (odds ratio [OR] = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.04-1.05). The actual risk of being diagnosed 'too late' in the study-population (48%) was only slightly less than the estimated risk for patients not exposed to CHC-screening (58%, 95% CI: 43%-72%). Adequately screened patients however were at considerably less risk (17%, 95% CI: 4%-48%). CONCLUSION: Screening for congenital heart malformations in CHC contributes to the timely detection of these disorders. The actual yield, however, is far from optimal, and the screening programme should be improved. (+info)
A molecular pathway revealing a genetic basis for human cardiac and craniofacial defects.
Microdeletions of chromosome 22q11 are the most common genetic defects associated with cardiac and craniofacial anomalies in humans. A screen for mouse genes dependent on dHAND, a transcription factor implicated in neural crest development, identified Ufd1, which maps to human 22q11 and encodes a protein involved in degradation of ubiquitinated proteins. Mouse Ufd1 was specifically expressed in most tissues affected in patients with 22q11 deletion syndrome. The human UFD1L gene was deleted in all 182 patients studied with 22q11 deletion, and a smaller deletion of approximately 20 kilobases that removed exons 1 to 3 of UFD1L was found in one individual with features typical of 22q11 deletion syndrome. These data suggest that UFD1L haploinsufficiency contributes to the congenital heart and craniofacial defects seen in 22q11 deletion. (+info)
Townes-Brocks syndrome (TBS) is an autosomal dominant disorder with multiple malformations and variable expression. Major findings include external ear anomalies, hearing loss, preaxial polydactyly and triphalangeal thumbs, imperforate anus, and renal malformations. Most patients with Townes-Brocks syndrome have normal intelligence, although mental retardation has been noted in a few. (+info)
Microdeletion 22q11 and oesophageal atresia.
Oesophageal atresia (OA) is a congenital defect associated with additional malformations in 30-70% of the cases. In particular, OA is a component of the VACTERL association. Since some major features of the VACTERL association, including conotruncal heart defect, radial aplasia, and anal atresia, have been found in patients with microdeletion 22q11.2 (del(22q11.2)), we have screened for del(22q11.2) by fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) in 15 syndromic patients with OA. Del(22q11.2) was detected in one of them, presenting with OA, tetralogy of Fallot, anal atresia, neonatal hypocalcaemia, and subtle facial anomalies resembling those of velocardiofacial syndrome. The occurrence of del(22q11.2) in our series of patients with OA is low (1/15), but this chromosomal anomaly should be included among causative factors of malformation complexes with OA. In addition, clinical variability of del(22q11.2) syndrome is further corroborated with inclusion of OA in the list of the findings associated with the deletion. (+info)
Measured versus predicted oxygen consumption in children with congenital heart disease.
OBJECTIVE: To compare measured and predicted oxygen consumption (VO2) in children with congenital heart disease. DESIGN: Retrospective study. SETTING: The cardiac catheterisation laboratory in a university hospital. PATIENTS: 125 children undergoing preoperative cardiac catheterisation. INTERVENTIONS: VO2 was measured using indirect calorimetry; the predicted values were calculated from regression equations published by Lindahl, Wessel et al, and Lundell et al. Stepwise linear regression and analysis of variance were used to evaluate the influence of age, sex, weight, height, cardiac malformation, and heart failure on the bias and precision of predicted VO2. An artificial neural network was trained and used to produce an estimate of VO2 employing the same variables. The various estimates for VO2 were evaluated by calculating their bias and precision values. RESULTS: Lindahl's equation produced the highest precision (+/- 42%) of the regression based estimates. The corresponding average bias of the predicted VO2 was 3% (range -66% to 43%). When VO2 was predicted according to regression equations by Wessel and Lundell, the bias and precision were 0% and +/- 44%, and -16% and +/- 51%, respectively. The neural network predicted VO2 from variables included in the regression equations with a bias of 6% and precision +/- 29%; addition of further variables failed to improve this estimate. CONCLUSIONS: Both regression based and artificial intelligence based techniques were inaccurate for predicting preoperative VO2 in patients with congenital heart disease. Measurement of VO2 is necessary in the preoperative evaluation of these patients. (+info)
Neonatal examination and screening trial (NEST): a randomised, controlled, switchback trial of alternative policies for low risk infants.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of one rather than two hospital neonatal examinations in detection of abnormalities. DESIGN: Randomised controlled switchback trial. SETTING: Postnatal wards in a teaching hospital in north east Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: All infants delivered at the hospital between March 1993 and February 1995. INTERVENTION: A policy of one neonatal screening examination compared with a policy of two. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Congenital conditions diagnosed in hospital; results of community health assessments at 8 weeks and 8 months; outpatient referrals; inpatient admissions; use of general practioner services; focused analysis of outcomes for suspected hip and heart abnormalities. RESULTS: 4835 babies were allocated to receive one screening examination (one screen policy) and 4877 to receive two (two screen policy). More congenital conditions were suspected at discharge among babies examined twice (9.9 v 8.3 diagnoses per 100 babies; 95% confidence interval for difference 0.3 to 2.7). There was no overall significant difference between the groups in use of community, outpatient, or inpatient resources or in health care received. Although more babies who were examined twice attended orthopaedic outpatient clinics (340 (7%) v 289 (6%)), particularly for suspected congenital dislocation of the hip (176 (3.6/100 babies) v 137 (2.8/100 babies); difference -0.8; -1.5 to 0.1), there was no significant difference in the number of babies who required active management (12 (0.2%) v 15 (0.3%)). CONCLUSIONS: Despite more suspected abnormalities, there was no evidence of net health gain from a policy of two hospital neonatal examinations. Adoption of a single examination policy would save resources both during the postnatal hospital stay and through fewer outpatient consultations. (+info)
Caval contribution to flow in the branch pulmonary arteries of Fontan patients with a novel application of magnetic resonance presaturation pulse.
BACKGROUND: A complete understanding of fluid mechanics in Fontan physiology includes knowledge of the caval contributions to right (RPA) and left (LPA) pulmonary arterial blood flow, total systemic venous return, and relative blood flow to each lung. METHODS AND RESULTS: Ten Fontan patients underwent cine MRI. Three cine scans of the pulmonary arteries were performed: (1) no presaturation pulse, (2) a presaturation pulse labeling inferior vena cava (IVC) blood (signal void), and (3) a presaturation pulse labeling superior vena cava (SVC) blood. The relative signal decrease is proportional to the amount of blood originating from the labeled vena cava. This method was validated in a phantom. Whereas 60+/-6% of SVC blood flowed into the RPA, 67+/-12% of IVC blood flowed toward the LPA. Of the blood in the LPA and RPA, 48+/-14% and 31+/-17%, respectively, came from the IVC. IVC blood contributed 40+/-16% to total systemic venous return. The distributions of blood to each lung were nearly equal (RPA/LPA blood=0.94+/-11). CONCLUSIONS: In Fontan patients with total cavopulmonary connection, SVC blood is directed toward the RPA and IVC blood is directed toward the LPA. Although the right lung volume is larger than the left, an equal amount of blood flow went to both lungs. LPA blood is composed of equal amounts of IVC and SVC blood because IVC contribution to total systemic venous return is smaller than that of the SVC. This technique and these findings can help to evaluate design changes of the systemic venous pathway to improve Fontan hemodynamics. (+info)