ABSTRACT Localization of apoptotic cells in the kidney of perinatal rats was examined by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated d–UTP–biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) method and electron microscopy. Perinatal changes in the percentage of kidney cells with DNA fragmentation were determined by flow cytometric analysis. Through observation of two successive sections, the relationship between the localization of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) positive cells and TUNEL positive cells in the kidney was determined. From fetal day 18 to neonatal day 5, TUNEL positive cells were noted in immature glomeruli, collecting ducts and interstitium. Electron microscopically, chromatin condensed nuclei and apoptotic bodies were seen in the same tissue component as the TUNEL positive cells. The percentage of DNA fragmented cells significantly increased from fetal days 18 to 20 and significantly decreased from fetal days 20 to 22, while they still remained low in the neonatal period. The TUNEL positive cells in immature glomeruli and collecting ducts were not reactive to the EGFR antibody. The TUNEL positive cells were not observed in the proximal tubular cells, which were positive to EGFR antibody. These results indicate that apoptotic cells are present in the kidney throughout the perinatal period in the rat and that EGF plays an important role in perinatal development of the rat kidney.
ABSTRACT We previously reported infertility in female rats that received N–acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) intravenously at a dosage of 1000 mg/kg/day. Unfertilized oocytes and gestation day 1 and 2 embryos were assessed morphologically, and the results suggested that absence or thinning of the zona pellucida (ZP) is related to infertility. However, the morphological characteristics of oocytes before ovulation and recovery from the effects of NAC were not clarified. In the present study, the ovarian follicles were histopathologi–cally examined and the recovery of reproductive function was evaluated to investigate the effects of NAC. Female Sprague-Dawley rats at 10 weeks of age received NAC intravenously at 1000 mg/kg/day for more than 1 week. Thinning of the ZP was observed in the ovarian follicles in all stages of growth by light microscopy. Outflow of the components of the ZP between the corona radiata and disarrangement of the corona radiata were more pronounced in growing follicles than in large secondary follicles. Similar findings were observed by electron microscopy, and the effects of NAC were limited to the ZP. Infertility and thinning of the ZP were observed in the no–recovery NAC group, but not in the recovery NAC group, in which animals recovered within four estrous cycles after NAC administration. It has been reported that the ZP is expressed by oocytes or by both oocytes and granulosa cells, but no changes were noted in these cells. The present findings suggest that NAC affects the ZP directly and that reproductive function may recover from the effects of NAC.
ABSTRACT The technique for gavage administration to rat nurslings was improved to allow determination of the direct effects of chemical substances in the nurslings. Rat neonates were treated with distilled water from postnatal day 1 through 20 using this technique. The viability of neonates during the administration period was comparable to that of untreated neonates. No adverse effects of this technique on the development of neonates were found, and no histological alterations of the esophagus or pharynx. Therefore, we conclude that use of our improved gavage administration method will contribute to ensuring successful neonatal development and thus allowing accurate assessment of the toxicological effects of test compounds on rat nurslings.
ABSTRACT Regarding radial ray deficiency, several reports suggest that preaxial limb anomalies occur frequently, while postaxial limb anomalies and cleft hand (split–hands) are rarely associated with VACTERL. We describe a rare clinical case of VACTERL with cleft hand and a number of visceral anomalies.