Spontaneous and induced alterations in the cardiac membranous ventricular septum of fetal, weanling, and adult rats.
Alterations of the cardiac membranous ventricular septum were studied using macrodissection, scanning electron and light microscopy of fetal, weanling, and adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Membranous ventricular septal defects (VSDs) were observed in 2.0% of fetuses on day 21 postcoitus (pc) but not in weanling or adult rats. The most common observation was a nonpatent depression in the membranous septum with an incidence of 38.1, 10.5, 4.3% for fetuses on days 17, 19, or 21 pc, respectively, 11.8% for weanlings, and 9.1% for adults. VSDs were characterized by a split in the endocardial cushion cells in the interventricular component of the membranous septum. Nonpatent depressions were characterized by a split in the endocardial cushion cells in the atrioventricular component of the septum, and they persisted postnatally as a blind-ended diverticulum directed above the tricuspid valve. The cardiovascular teratogens, trimethadione and trypan blue, produced in fetuses nonpatent depressions and VSDs morphologically similar to untreated fetuses. Maternal diet restriction (25% of controls) lowered fetal (day 21 pc) body weight by 47% but did not affect the incidence of ventricular septal alterations, suggesting that intrauterine growth retardation is not necessarily associated with alterations in the development of the ventricular septum. We conclude that neither VSDs nor nonpatent depressions in Sprague-Dawley rats affect postnatal survival and that VSDs close spontaneously during neonatal life.
Solomon, HM; Wier, PJ; Fish, CJ; Hart, TK; Johnson, CM; Posobiec, LM; Gowan, CC; Maleeff, BE; Kerns, WD
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