The purpose of this paper is to review the development of the mammalian kidney and to assess the influence that various perinatal manipulations may have on the developmental process either morphologically or functionally. Immature kidneys in general have less functional capacity than adult kidneys and a low rate of glomerular filtration, perhaps related to renal blood flow, which appears to limit the disposition of a fluid or solute load. Tubular reabsorption is also limited leading to the urinary loss of glucose, amino acids, bicarbonate and phosphate. Although the relatively low function of the immature kidney is a normal part of development, its capacity to respond under conditions of stress may be less adequate than in adults. An additional concern is that a variety of perinatal manipulations, such as the incidental or accidental ingestion of a chemical, may lead to varying degrees of altered morphogenesis or functional development of the kidney. Chemical induced renal anomalies may be of several types, but in typical teratology experiments hydronephrosis may be the most frequent observation. The functional consequences of these renal malformations may be lethal or inconsequential or while an animal may be able to survive and develop normally in the presence of a renal malformation, it is possible that a stressful situation would unmask a functional malformation which could compromise survival. Thus, some renal abnormalities may be subtle enough to go unnoticed without experimental tests. Without such tests it is impossible to evaluate the effect of functional alterations on successful adaptation. (+info)
Developmental pathways: Sonic hedgehog-Patched-GLI.
Developmental pathways are networks of genes that act coordinately to establish the body plan. Disruptions of genes in one pathway can have effects in related pathways and may result in serious dysmorphogenesis or cancer. Environmental exposures can be associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including dysmorphic offspring or children with a variety of diseases. An important goal of environmental science should be reduction of these poor outcomes. This will require an understanding of the genes affected by specific exposures and the consequence of alterations in these genes or their products, which in turn will require an understanding of the pathways critical in development. The ligand Sonic hedgehog, the receptors Patched and Smoothened, and the GLI family of transcription factors represent one such pathway. This pathway illustrates several operating principles important in the consideration of developmental consequences of environmental exposures to toxins. (+info)
Young women taking isotretinoin still conceive. Role of physicians in preventing disaster.
QUESTION: One of my adolescent patients was prescribed isotretinoin for severe acne by a dermatologist. I was shocked to discover she does not use any means of contraception. The dermatologist insists he told her about the need for contraception. How can we do better? ANSWER: Clearly this dermatologist, like many of his colleagues, does not comply with the Pregnancy Prevention Program. Until physicians become more aware of this program, babies will continue to be born with embryopathy due to isotretinoin. (+info)
Embryonic and postnatal injections of bromodeoxyuridine produce age-dependent morphological and behavioral abnormalities.
The mitotic marker 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was injected twice daily (60 mg/kg) into pregnant hooded rats on one of embryonic days (E) 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, or 21, or into rat pups on postnatal day (P) 10. The principal findings were the following: (1) BrdU exposure on E11 produces profound effects on body morphology, and animals must be fed a special diet because of chronic tooth abnormalities; (2) BrdU exposure at E17 or earlier produces a change in coat spotting pattern, the precise pattern varying with age; (3) BrdU exposure on E15 or earlier produces a reduction in both brain and body weight; (4) BrdU exposure on E17 or earlier reduces cortical thickness; (5) BrdU exposure on E11-E13 and at P10 reduces cerebellar size relative to cerebral size; (6) spatial learning is significantly affected after injections of BrdU at E11-E17, but the largest effect is on E17; (7) the deficit in spatial learning may be related in part to a reduction in visual acuity; and (8) skilled forelimb ability is most disrupted after BrdU exposure at E15 but is also impaired after injections on E13 or earlier. BrdU thus has teratological effects on body, brain, and behavior that vary with the developmental age of the fetus or infant. (+info)
Longitudinal limb deficiencies and the sclerotomes. An analysis of 378 dysmelic malformations induced by thalidomide.
The pathogenesis of longitudinal reduction deformities of the limbs, or dysmelia, is still a matter of debate. Their morphological pattern was defined from a large collection of radiographs of children with dysmelia following the thalidomide disaster. We compared radiographs of 378 of these limbs with the sclerotomes which are areas of segmental sensory innervation of the limb skeleton defined by the radiation of referred pain. The pattern of dysmelia matched the sclerotomes closely in 279 limbs (73.5%). The principles of skeletal reduction in dysmelia are explained by the arrangement of the sclerotomes. The congruence between two separate and independent data sets shows that both patterns are expressions of the underlying segmental sensory innervation of the skeleton, and that the sensory nervous system is involved in the process of limb morphogenesis and teratogenesis. (+info)
Pregnancy in patients after valve replacement.
This report is based on information obtained from a questionnaire sent to major cardiac centres in the United Kingdom. This produced details of 39 pregnancies in 34 patients after valve replacement. The 39 pregnancies gave rise to 30 healthy babies. The small size of the series probably reflects both the increasing rarity of young women with rheumatic heart disease in this country and the cautious attitude of their cardiologists. This makes it likely that these women represented the best end of the spectrum of cardiac function after valve replacement. Twenty-four pregnancies in 20 women who were not given anticoagulants producted 23 healthy babies and 1 spontaneous abortion. This group comprised 6 patients with free aortic homografts, 1 patient with a fascia lata mitral valve, 1 with a Beall tricuspid prosthesis, 1 with a combined mitral homograft and Starr Edwards aortic prosthesis, and 1 with mitral and aortic frame-mounted fascia lata valves. There were no maternal deaths or thromboembolic complications in this group which included 5 patients who were in atrial fibrillation. Fifteen pregnancies in 14 women who received anticoagulants gave rise to 7 healthy babies. The fetal losses were one stillbirth, one intrauterine death at 34 weeks, and 3 spontaneous abortions; one surviving child has hydrocephalus as a result of blood clot and there were 2 maternal deaths. This group included 13 patients with Starr Edwards valves, 11 mitral and 2 aortic. A patient with a Hammersmith mitral valve was the only one to have been treated with heparin and her valve thrombosed. One patient with a mounted mitral homograft had a cerebral embolus. Nine of these patients were in atrial fibrillation. In 3 additional patients the valve replacement was carried out during pregnancy. Two of the patients survived operation. In one of these who was treated with warfarin the pregnancy well, but there is an increased fetal wastage in patients pregnancy gave rise to a congenitally malformed baby who died in the neonatal period. The baby born to the mother who did not receive anticoagulants has a hare-lip and talipes. Women with artificial valves can tolerate the haemodynamic load of pregnancy well, but there is an increased fetal wastage in patients taking oral anticoagulants. This is probably largely attributable to fetal haemorrhage but there is also a risk of malformation caused by a teratogenic effect of warfarin. Experience gained in non-pregnant patients suggests that withholding anticoagulatns in pregnant patients with prosthetic valves would usually be undersirable but warfarin should be avoided. The advantages of biological valves were apparent in this series. (+info)
Developmental damage, increased lipid peroxidation, diminished cyclooxygenase-2 gene expression, and lowered prostaglandin E2 levels in rat embryos exposed to a diabetic environment.
Previous experimental studies suggest that diabetic embryopathy is associated with an excess of radical oxygen species (ROS), as well as with a disturbance of prostaglandin (PG) metabolism. We aimed to investigate the relationship between these pathways and used hyperglycemia in vitro (embryo culture for 24-48 h) and maternal diabetes in vivo to affect embryonic development. Subsequently, we assessed lipid peroxidation and gene expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and -2 and measured the concentration of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in embryos and membranes. Both hyperglycemia in vitro and maternal diabetes in vivo caused embryonic dysmorphogenesis and increased embryonic levels of 8-epi-PGF2alpha, an indicator of lipid peroxidation. Addition of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to the culture medium normalized the morphology and 8-epi-PGF2alpha concentration of the embryos exposed to high glucose. Neither hyperglycemia nor diabetes altered COX-1 expression, but embryonic COX-2 expression was diminished on gestational day 10. The PGE2 concentration of day 10 embryos and membranes was decreased after exposure to high glucose in vitro or diabetes in vivo. In vitro addition of NAC to high glucose cultures largely rectified morphology and restored PGE2 concentration, but without normalizing the COX-2 expression in embryos and membranes. Hyperglycemia/diabetes-induced downregulation of embryonic COX-2 gene expression may be a primary event in diabetic embryopathy, leading to lowered PGE2 levels and dysmorphogenesis. Antioxidant treatment does not prevent the decrease in COX-2 mRNA levels but restores PGE2 concentrations, suggesting that diabetes-induced oxidative stress aggravates the loss of COX-2 activity. This may explain in part the antiteratogenic effect of antioxidant treatment. (+info)
Scanning electron microscopy of lithium-induced exogastrulae of Xenopus laevis.
Lithium-induced exogastrulae are abnormal embryos which fail to complete gastrulation and do not form normal neural structures. Scanning electron microscopy has been used to compare the surface structure of the ectoderm cells of exogastrulae with that of the ectoderm cells of normal embryos and has shown that the appearance of ciliated cells is delayed in exogastrulae. In addition, the structure of endoderm cells, which remain exposed in these embryos, has been studied. (+info)