Complete discontinuity of the distal fistula tract from the developing gut: direct histologic evidence for the mechanism of tracheoesophageal fistula formation.
The embryogenesis of tracheoesophageal anomalies remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to better define the embryogenesis of developing esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula (EA/TEF), with specific attention to the controversial issue of whether a discontinuity exists in the foregut during its development of EA/TEF. Pregnant outbred rats were injected with adriamycin (2 mg/kg i.p.) on days 6-9 of gestation (E6-E9). At E12.5 and 13.5, microdissection of the entire foregut was performed. Foreguts were examined by phase microscopy, and serial, precisely transverse sections were created for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Gross microdissection of the developing foregut at E12.5 (n = 9) revealed a blind-ending, bulbous fistula tract arising from the middle branch of the tracheal trifurcation (as seen by direct and phase microscopy). No connection with the gut could be appreciated at E12.5, but by E13.5 (n = 10) there was an obvious connection between the fistula and the stomach. Serial H&E transverse sections also demonstrated a blind-ending fistula tract arising from the trachea at E12.5. This fistula tract was clearly discontinuous from the developing stomach, which appeared much further caudal to the end of the fistula tract. These results strongly support a model of experimental TEF wherein the fistula tract arises from a trifurcation of the trachea, and (only during a specific gestational window between days 12.5 and 13.5) there is discontinuity between the fistula tract and the stomach. By day 13.5, the fistula joins with the stomach anlage. These observations in the developing EA/TEF should help to resolve the controversy about the mechanism of EA/TEF formation.
Spilde, TL; Bhatia, AM; Marosky, JK; Hembree, MJ; Kobayashi, H; Daume, EL; Prasadan, K; Manna, P; Preuett, BL; Gittes, GK
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