Journal of pediatric surgery vol:39 issue:7 pages:1066-72
BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Although the pulmonary vascular abnormalities in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) are described from a morphologic point of view, the treatment of pulmonary hypertension (PH) remains one of the main unsolved problems in clinical daily practice. For this reason, detailed studies in well-validated animal models could still be of significance in our understanding of the pathogenesis of CDH. METHODS: In does of 23 days' gestational age (GA), 39 fetuses underwent creation of diaphragmatic hernia (DH) and 15 fetuses a sham thoracotomy (SHAM). Thirty-nine nonoperated littermates served as internal controls (CTR). Fetuses were harvested by cesarean section on days 25, 27, 29, and 30 of gestation. Lung specimens were obtained and formalin fixed for further vascular morphometry studies. RESULTS: Lung vessels from DH fetuses started to show significantly smaller internal diameter (ID), external diameter (ED), larger arterial wall thickness (WT), and, in particular, a proportionally higher medial thickness (%MT) and adventitial thickness (%AT) from day 27 onward when compared with control fetuses. SHAM fetuses, which were harvested at term, showed no differences with CTR. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report documenting changes over time in the vascular system in a rabbit fetal model of surgically induced DH. These changes mimic pathologic findings observed in human fetuses and are also concordant with earlier observations in the surgical ovine model and the toxic nitrofen rat model.