Purpose: To examine if brain malformations, similar to those which account for cognitive disorders seen in human disease, are present in an ovine model of myelomeningocele (MMC). Methods: An MMC-like lesion was surgically created in 16 fetal lambs between 60 and 80 days of gestation. Ten did not undergo fetal repair (group A), 2 were repaired with an open two-layer closure (group B), 2 with open bioglue coverage (group C) and 2 with fetoscopic coverage (group D). Lambs were killed and their brains were examined. Two brains from normal unoperated lambs served as controls. Results: Thirteen lambs died in utero (81%). Two lambs in group A and 1 in group B were delivered at term. Group A brains showed hydrocephalus and extensive areas of polymicrogyria. There was also an extensive denudation of the ependymal lining under the polymicrogyric areas and the corpus callosum was thinner than normal. No hindbrain herniation was observed. Brains from group B and the control did not show any of these abnormalities. Conclusions: Some of the central nervous system abnormalities associated to MMC in human patients are also found in the uncorrected fetal lamb model of MMC but not in the only survivor to intrauterine coverage. Further studies are necessary to ascertain if these abnormalities can be prevented by coverage of the defect.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health