Background:Ultrasound is a valuable non-invasive tool used in obstetrics and gynecology to monitor the growth and well being of the human fetus. The laboratory mouse has recently emerged as an appropriate model for fetal and perinatal studies because morphogenetic processes in mice exhibit adequate homology to those in humans, and genetic manipulations are relatively simple to perform in mice. High-frequency ultrasound (HFUS) has recently become available for small animal preclinical imaging and can be used to study pregnancy and development in the mouse. The objective of the current study was to assess the main applications of HFUS in the evaluation of fetal growth and placental function and to better understand human congenital diseases.Methodology/Principal Findings:On each gestational day, at least 5 dams were monitored with HFUS; a total of ~200 embryos were examined. Because it is not possible to measure each variable for the entire duration of the pregnancy, the parameters were divided into three groups as a function of the time at which they were measured. Univariate analysis of the relationship between each measurement and the embryonic day was performed using Spearman's rank correlation (Rs). Continuous linear regression was adopted for multivariate analysis of significant parameters. All statistical tests were two-sided, and a p value of 0.05 was considered statistically significant.Conclusions/Significance:The study describes the main applications of HFUS to assess changes in phenotypic parameters in the developing CD1 mouse embryo and fetus during pregnancy and to evaluating physiological fetal and placental growth and the development of principal organs such as the heart, kidney, liver, brain and eyes in the embryonic mouse. A database of normal structural and functional parameters of mouse development will provide a useful tool for the better understanding of morphogenetic and cardiovascular anomalies in transgenic and mutant mouse models.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)