The effects of oligohydramnios and cervical cord transection on lung growth in experimental pulmonary hypoplasia in rabbits


      OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to examine the effects of oligohydramnios and cervical cord transection on fetal lung development, pulmonary surfactant, and lung mechanics in rabbits. STUDY DESIGN: The amniotic fluid was shunted into the maternal abdominal cavity in a group of 12 fetal rabbits. In another group (n = 12) high cervical cord transection was performed at day 24 of gestation. Another 12 littermates not operated on served as the control group. Fetuses were delivered on day 30 of gestation by cesarean section and immediately put to death. The body weight and wet lung and liver weights were measured. To determine the extent of fetal lung growth, we measured the size of lung acini, the number of terminal airspaces, and the diameter of alveoli. We also measured the dynamic compliance of the lung, the concentration of phosphatidylcholine, and the lecithin/sphingomyelin ratio in lung lavage fluid at birth. RESULTS: Amniotic fluid shunting produced a significant reduction in amniotic fluid volume. Amniotic shunt and cervical cord transection significantly decreased wet lung weight and fetal lung/body weight ratio compared with the control. The concentration of phosphatidylcholine and the lecithin/sphingomyelin ratio in lung fluid lavage from fetuses with amniotic shunt were significantly higher than the values for control and cord transection fetuses. Histopathologic examination of the lungs showed significant reductions in the size of acini, the number of terminal airspaces, and the diameter of alveoli in shunted and cord transection groups compared with the control group. The dynamic compliance of transection fetuses was significantly reduced compared with control and shunted fetuses. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that oligohydramnios or cervical cord transections cause pulmonary hypoplasia. However, oligohydramnios-induced pulmonary hypoplasia is associated with increased pulmonary surfactant compared with control and cord transection fetuses.(Am J Obstet Gynecol 1997;177:72-7)


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Lauria MR
        • Gonik B
        • Romero R.
        Pulmonary hypoplasia: pathogenesis, diagnosis and antenatal prediction.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1995; 86: 466-475
        • Kitterman JA.
        Fetal lung development.
        J Dev Physiol. 1984; 6: 67-72
        • Alcorn D
        • Adamson TM
        • Lambert TF
        • Maloney JE
        • Ritchie BC
        • Robinson PM.
        Morphological effects of chronic tracheal ligation and drainage in the fetal lamb lung.
        J Anat. 1977; 123: 649-660
        • King JC
        • Mitzner W
        • Butterfield AB
        • Queenan JT.
        Effect of induced oligohydramnios on fetal lung development.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986; 154: 823-830
        • Higuchi M
        • Kato T
        • Yoshino H
        • Matsuda K
        • Gotoh K
        • Hirano H
        • et al.
        The influence of experimentally produced oligohydramnios on lung growth and pulmonary surfactant content in fetal rabbits.
        J Dev Physiol. 1992; 16: 223-227
        • Wigglesworth JS
        • Desai R.
        Effect on lung growth of cervical cord section in the rabbit fetus.
        Early Hum Dev. 1979; 3: 51-65
        • Gluck L
        • Kulovich MV
        • Borer RC
        • Kiedel W.
        The interpretation and significance of the lecithin/sphingomyelin ratio in amniotic fluid.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1974; 120: 142-145
        • Nakamura D
        • Glick PL
        • Harrison MR
        • Villa RL
        • Noall R.
        Experimental pulmonary hypoplasia due to oligohydramnios and its reversal by relieving thoracic compression.
        J Pediatr Surg. 1983; 18: 347-353
        • Berkowitz RL
        • Kantor RD
        • Beck GJ
        • Warshaw JB.
        The relationship between premature rupture of the membranes and the respiratory distress syndrome.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1978; 131: 503-508
        • Dornan JC
        • Ritchie JWK
        • Meban C.
        Fetal breathing movements and lung maturation in the congenital abnormal human fetus.
        J Dev Physiol. 1984; 6: 367-375
        • Liggins GC
        • Vilos GA
        • Campos GA
        • Kitterman JA
        • Le CH.
        The effect of bilateral thoracoplasty on lung development in fetal sheep.
        J Dev Physiol. 1981; 3: 275-282
        • Harding R
        • Hooper SB
        • Dickson KA.
        A mechanism leading to reduced lung expansion and lung hypoplasia in fetal sheep during oligohydramnios.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990; 163: 1904-1913