Correction of congenital hydrocephalus in utero I. The model: intracisternal kaolin produces hydrocephalus in fetal lambs and rhesus monkeys.
In the fetus with congenital hydrocephalus, obstruction to the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) results in ventricular dilation and neurologic impairment. Decompression of the obstructed ventricles before birth may ameliorate the damage and allow normal development to proceed. Although appealing, this pathophysiologic rationale has not been adequately tested because a satisfactory fetal model has not been available. We have developed a model of obstructive hydrocephalus in the fetal lamb and rhesus monkey by injecting kaolin into the cisterna magna through the posterior atlanto-occipital membrane early in the last trimester. Preliminary studies injecting silicone oil were unsuccessful. The development of fetal ventriculomegaly was followed using prenatal ultrasonography. Massive hydrocephalus developed in six sheep, three liveborn at term and three stillborn after premature vaginal delivery, and in 2 fetal rhesus monkeys. All treated animals had external signs of hydrocephalus with marked cranial enlargement. Neuropathologic examinations demonstrated fibrosis of the leptomeninges and subarachnoid spaces around the fourth ventricle. Dilation of the lateral and third ventricles resulted, with attenuation of the cerebral white matter. On histologic examination, the grey matter was relatively well preserved, while the white matter was severely attenuated. This model mimics the clinical and pathologic picture seen in human infants and should allow us to study the pathophysiology of congenital obstructive hydrocephalus and the efficacy and feasibility of its correction in utero.
Nakayama, DK; Harrison, MR; Berger, MS; Chinn, DH; Halks-Miller, M; Edwards, MS
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