ABSTRACT In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are effective treatments for infertility and are widely provided at infertility clinics. Although IVF and related ART procedures are generally considered safe, some studies have suggested an excess occurrence of major malformations, low birth-weight and other perinatal complications in babies conceived by ART. Further, it was recently reported that IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are associated with imprinting disorders in the offspring such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and Angelman syndrome. Here we review the human and animal studies investigating the potential risks of ART, and discuss the need for further investigation.
ABSTRACT The review presented here discusses and exemplifies problems in epidemiological studies of drug teratogenesis according to methodology: case–control studies, cohort studies, or total population studies. Sources of errors and the possibility of confounding are underlined. The review stresses the caution with which conclusions have to be drawn when exposure data are retrospective or other possible bias exists. It also stresses the problem with the multiple testing situation that is usually present in the studies. It is therefore difficult to draw any firm conclusion from single studies and still more difficult to draw conclusions on causality. As randomized studies are in most cases out of the question, one has to rely on the type of studies which can be made, but the interpretation of the results should be cautious. The ideal study, next to a randomized one, is a large prospective study with detailed exposure information and detailed and unbiased outcome data. Even so, such a study can mainly be used for identifying possible associations which have to be verified or rejected in new studies. Nearly every finding of a risk increase, if not extremely strong, should only be regarded as a tentative signal to be tested in independent studies.
ABSTRACT It is known that animals show different responses to the same teratogen between different strains. We examined cardiac malformations in Sprague–Dawley (SD) and Wistar rats induced by bis-diamine, which produced conotruncal anomalies and aortic arch malformations in embryos when administered to the dams, to elucidate the morphological differences and pathogenesis in the two strains. Two hundred milligrams of bis-diamine dissolved in 1% gum-tragacanth was administered to pregnant rats on embryonic day (ED) 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 in each strain. The embryos were removed on ED 20.5. External appearances, cardiovascular morphology and associated anomalies were examined under a dissecting microscope. An immunohistological study with an anti-N-CAM antibody, an excellent marker for neural crest cells, was performed on ED 12.5 embryos. Isolated aortic arch anomalies were common features of malformations induced by bis-diamine in SD rats and intracardiac defects were found in a small number of the embryos. Wistar rats showed more serious cardiovascular anomalies, such as persistent truncus arteriosus and tetralogy of Fallot, especially when dams were treated on ED 10.5 and isolated arch anomalies were significantly less prevalent than in SD rats. Immunohistology demonstrated that there were fewer N-CAM positive cells in the conotruncal region in Wistar rats than in SD rats. Bis-diamine induced more critical cardiovascular malformations in Wistar rats because neural crest cells, which play an important role in conotruncal septation, were more extensively damaged. Different susceptibility to bis-diamine and/or different time of neural crest cell emigration from the hindbrain might explain those morphological differences.
ABSTRACT Hereditary lymphedema type I (Milroy disease) is a rare autosomal dominant disease resulting from mutations of FLT4 encoding the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3. Patients develop edema of the legs and feet, resulting in chronic swelling of the lower extremities from the neonatal period. Here we report a Japanese family with 10 affected members of five generations of hereditary lymphedema type I. We identified a previously reported missense mutation of G857R in one allele of FLT4 from three affected individuals of three generations, the mother of whom presented only hemi-lymphedema of the left foot. Thus, the clinical features of hereditary lymphedema type I caused by a FLT4 mutation are heterogeneous and it would be appropriate to consider FLT4 mutations even in a patient with hemi-lymphedema of the foot.
ABSTRACT We report here a patient with features of Down syndrome and tetralogy of Fallot who had a 21q22 duplication. The extent of the duplication was defined using fluorescent hybridization probes that map to the critical region on chromosome 21. Included within the interval was the cell adhesion molecule DSCAM but not the collagen COL6A1. The present case provides further support to the concept that there exists Down syndrome-associated congenital heart disease gene(s) on chromosome 21q22 and that over-expression of DSCAM may contribute to the cardiac defects of Down syndrome.
ABSTRACT Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS), also known as ‘broad thumbs syndrome’ or ‘broad thumb-hallux syndrome’, is a malformation syndrome characterized by the triad of broad thumbs or first toes, a peculiar facial expression called ‘comical face’ and mental retardation. Although various malformations are combined with the triad, polydactyly is rare. We treated a male patient with RTS complicated by postaxial polydactyly of the foot. His clinical course was different from typical patients with polydactyly, especially in the aspect of walking development. Osteoplasty-combined surgery, which was ideal for anatomical reconstruction, was performed on the patient at 2 years and 11 months of age. A 4-year follow-up period was required until there was an improvement of dysbasia.
ABSTRACT We report here the first case of an L1CAM gene mutation identified in mental retardation, adducted thumbs, shuffling gait, and aphasia (MASA) syndrome in Japan. The patient was a 10-year-old boy with mild mental retardation, bilateral adducted thumbs and corpus callosum hypoplasia. His family had no history of MASA syndrome. The L1CAM gene contained a nonsense mutation (R1166X) in exon 26 in the cytoplasmic domain. No mutation was found in the extracellular and transmembrane domains of L1CAM. The abnormal development of axon tracts resulting in the corpus callosum hypoplasia and adducted thumbs appears to be caused by malfunction of the cytoplasmic domain of L1CAM.
ABSTRACT We report here a case of twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence with transposition of great arteries in the pump twin. Color Doppler and fetal echocardiographic examination revealed an acardiac, anencephalic twin without upper limbs and a pump twin with transposition of great arteries. To our knowledge despite multiple anomalies reported in the acardiac twin, major anomalies, especially of a cardiac type are extremely rare and not reported in the pump twin, which maintains circulation. Management is directed at saving the pump fetus; therefore, we believe that during sonographic exam, emphasis should be placed on associated organ anomalies or complications that may hamper viability of the pump.