A pictorial essay on fetal rabbit anatomy using micro-ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging

Philip Dekoninck, Masayuki Endo, Inga Sandaite, Jute Richter, Luc De Catte, Ben Van Calster, Jaan Toelen, Uwe Himmelreich, Filip Claus, Jan Deprest
Prenatal Diagnosis2014
Introduction: With this pictorial essay, we aimed to provide gestational age specific reference ranges of relevant fetal structures using micro-ultrasound, as well as its correlation with postmortem MRI and whole body sections. Material and Methods: Time-mated pregnant rabbits (n=24) were assessed once at various gestational ages in the second half of pregnancy (15, 17, 21 to 23, 25 to 28, and 30 to 31days; term=31days). We obtained biometric data, together with Doppler flow patterns in the ductus venosus, umbilical artery and umbilical vein. After euthanasia, micro-ultrasound images were compared with images obtained by 9.4 Tesla MRI and whole body paraffin sections at 15, 23, 26, and 28days. Results: We constructed biometric normative curves, which showed a significant correlation with gestational age. The pulsatility index (PI) in the umbilical artery decreased with gestation (PI=5.746-0.2969(GA)+0.004931(GA)2; R2=0.30), whereas pulsatility index for veins (PIV) in the ductus venosus remained constant (median PIV=0.82 (0.60-1.12)). In this report, we provide an anatomical atlas of fetal thoracic development using both micro-ultrasound and MRI. Conclusion: We describe anatomical fetal leporine development as can be visualized by micro-ultrasound and MR imaging. The reported reference ranges may be useful for researchers using the fetal rabbit model. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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