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Maternal surgery during pregnancy has a transient adverse effect on the developing fetal rabbit brain

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BACKGROUND: Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration called for cautious use of anesthetic drugs during pregnancy. In 0.2-2% of pregnancies, nonobstetric surgery is being performed. The consequences of anesthesia during pregnancy on fetal development remain unclear, and preclinical studies in relevant animal models may help to elucidate them. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of maternal anesthesia and surgery during pregnancy on the developing fetal brain, using a rabbit model. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a randomized, sham-controlled study in time-mated pregnant does at 28 days of gestation (term = 31 days), which corresponds to the end of the second trimester in humans. Anesthesia was induced in 14 does (155 pups) with propofol and maintained with 4 vol% (equivalent to 1 minimum alveolar concentration) sevoflurane for 2 hours, and a laparotomy with minimal organ manipulation was performed (surgery group). Maternal vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, peripheral and cerebral oxygen saturation, temperature, end-tidal CO2, pH, lactate) were continuously monitored. Sham controls consisted of 7 does (74 pups) undergoing invasive hemodynamic monitoring for 2 hours without sedation. At term, does underwent cesarean delivery under ketamine-medetomidine sedation and local anesthesia. Pups either underwent motor and sensory neurologic testing followed by euthanasia at day 1 or daily neurodevelopment testing for 2 weeks and extensive neurologic assessment at 5 and 7 weeks (open field and object recognition test, T-maze, and radial-arm maze). Brains were harvested for histologic assessment of neuron density and synaptophysin expression. RESULTS: Blood gases and vital parameters were stable in both groups. On postnatal day 1, surgery pups had significant lower motor (25 ± 1 vs 23 ± 3; P = .004) and sensory (16 ± 2 vs 15 ± 2; P = .005) neurobehavioral scores and lower brain-to-body weight ratios (3.7% ± 0.6% vs 3.4% ± 0.6%; P = .001). This was accompanied by lower neuron density in multiple brain regions (eg, hippocampus 2617 ± 410 vs 2053 ± 492 neurons/mm2; P = .004) with lower proliferation rates and less synaptophysin expression. Furthermore, surgery pups had delayed motor development during the first week of life, for example with hopping appearing later (6 ± 5 vs 12 ± 3 days; P = .011). Yet, by 7 weeks of age, neurobehavioral impairment was limited to a reduced digging behavior, and no differences in neuron density or synaptophysin expression were seen. CONCLUSION: In rabbits, 2 hours of maternal general anesthesia and laparotomy, with minimal organ and no fetal manipulation, had a measurable impact on neonatal neurologic function and brain morphology. Pups had a slower motoric neurodevelopment, but by 7 weeks the effect became almost undetectable.
Tijdschrift: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
ISSN: 0002-9378
Issue: 4
Volume: 221
Jaar van publicatie:2019
BOF-publication weight:10
CSS-citation score:1
Authors from:Higher Education