Abnormal development of the enteric nervous system in rat embryos and fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Leopoldo Martínez, Rosa Aras-López, Sara Lancha, María Teresa Vallejo-Cremades, Federica Pederiva, Liu Xiaomei, Juan Antonio Tovar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background/Aim: Esophageal dilatation, gastroesophageal reflux, and intestinal obstruction have been demonstrated in CDH survivors. Abnormal esophageal and intestinal innervations were recently found in rats and babies with this disease. Our aim was to further characterize these malformations in embryos and fetal rats exposed to nitrofen. Methods: Pregnant rats received either 100 mg nitrofen or vehicle on E9.5. Fetuses were recovered at E15, E18, and E21. Sections of esophagus and small bowel were histochemically stained with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and immunostained for PGP9.5. PGP9.5 gen protein were measured on E21 and PGP9.5 mRNA on E15, E18 and E21. Comparisons between groups were made with non-parametrics tests. Results: Histochemistry and immunohistochemistry showed deficient innervation in all anatomical areas studied at E15, E18, and E21, and WB confirmed this decrease in E21 fetuses. PGP9.5 messenger was decreased in nitrofen-exposed animals on E18 (esophagus) or E15 (small bowel), and increased on E21 in the esophagus and E18 in small bowel. Conclusions: Development of the enteric nervous system of the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel is deficient in rat embryos and fetuses exposed to nitrofen. These anomalies could account in part for the long-term gastrointestinal morbidity observed in CDH survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011



  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Histochemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nitrofen
  • PGP9.5
  • RT-PCR
  • Western blot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery

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