Early bladder wall changes after creation of obstructive uropathy in the fetal lamb
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Vesico-amniotic shunting of obstructive uropathy in fetal lambs produced a thick-walled, poorly compliant bladder. We report the early histological changes in the obstructed bladder wall. We created an obstructive uropathy in fetal lambs at 60 days gestation by ligating the urethra and urachus. Vesicostomy or vesico-amniotic shunt tube insertion and biopsy of the bladder wall were performed 21 days later. The fetuses were delivered at term (145 days) and the kidneys and bladder sampled for histology. Colloidal iron (Col Fe), and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) immunohistochemical stains were used for these samples. Seventeen fetuses were shunted with 15 biopsies taken at that time. Six (shunt failure or missed urachal ligation) were excluded. All biopsies taken at shunting had positive Col Fe and α-SMA. Term lambs had mild multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK) in five, severe MCDK in two, and hydronephrosis in four. All bladders had small volume and were severely fibrotic. Fetal shunt operations 3 weeks after the creation of obstructive uropathy provided partial preservation of renal histology but did not preserve normal bladder histology. We suggest that the high hyaluronic acid synthesis activity or hyperplasia of the myofibroblasts in the dilated fetal bladder wall at the time of shunting results in irreversible damage to the developing bladder muscle and fibrosis.
KeywordsFetal surgery Obstructive uropathy Bladder function Posterior urethral valve
This study was supported by the Japanese Society for Grant in aid of Scientific Research (C). Suture materials were supplied by Tyco Healthcare Tokyo, Japan. All animals are consistently bred to timing of <24 h by Doug Jensen of the Wallaceville Animal Research Facility. The authors thank Shigeko Ohnuma for assistance in processing the histology.
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