ABSTRACT The Developmental Neurotoxicology (DNT) Committee has been working to promote developmental neurotoxicology and related scientific areas of interest to integrate academic and regulatory sciences in this field since the Behavioral Teratology Meeting was established by the Japanese Teratology Society in 1982. The committee has led several large-scale collaborative studies to standardize existing methodologies and held symposiums and workshops periodically at the society's annual meetings. This overview provides a history of the DNT Committee, as well as a brief summary of the DNT Symposium in 2011.
Abstract Recently social concerns have been increasing about the effects of environmental factors on children's health, especially on their nervous systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have published testing guidelines for developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). Approximately 110 guideline studies have been conducted to date. Importantly, information from these studies has provided data critical for regulatory decisions for a number of chemicals. However, the DNT guidelines do not always satisfy all stakeholders because of some uncertainties in their methodology, evaluation, and regulation. Methodological issues include incomplete harmonization between EPA and OECD guidelines, criticisms of the methodology for learning and memory testing, and unspecified positive control substances. Potential artifacts in morphometric neuropathological measures, criteria for observation measures, uncertainty of postnatal offspring exposure, especially in feeding studies, and extrapolation of data from rats to humans are major evaluation issues. In addition, there is some uncertainty in the use of an additional safety factor for susceptibility of infants and children. Moreover, the DNT guidelines have extensive time and cost requirements, use large numbers of animals, and there is a limited set of laboratories that can conduct the study. This paper reviews some of these issues and summarizes discussions from the symposium ‘Developmental neurotoxicity testing: Scientific approaches towards the next generation to protecting the developing nervous system of children’ held at the 2011 annual meeting of the Japanese Teratology Society.
Abstract Developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) tests usually focus on postnatal indicators, such as behavior and neuropathology, for the detection of chemically induced neurodevelopmental defects in the central nervous system (CNS). However, low reliability, especially low reproducibility, of behavioral results often causes concern among scientists and the scientific community in general. Guidance of neurohistopathological examination in the DNT guideline also has some shortcomings, especially relating to the methodological aspects. Ongoing international trends in DNT tests have shifted from the use of original in vivo animal (mammalian) studies to in vitro experiments using cell cultures and/or non-mammalian species, such as fish. In vitro systems might initially be useful to screen test chemicals for their DNT potential. Although in vitro systems are employed as alternative approaches for DNT studies, the use of in vivo studies based on animal models remains an important factor when data are to be extrapolated to the human case. In this review, a new in vivo approach that focuses on histopathological observation of each developmental step of the CNS, such as proliferation of neural stem cells, migration of immature neurons, and formation of neural networks, using fetal and neonatal brains after chemical exposure is introduced, and some queries and arguments for current DNT experimental guidelines are discussed.
Abstract Great progress has been made over the past 40 years in understanding the hazards of exposure to a small number of developmental neurotoxicants. Lead, polychlorinated biphenyls, and methylmercury are all good examples of science-based approaches to characterizing the hazard to the developing nervous systems from environmental contaminants. However, very little effort has been spent to address the challenge of assessing the potential developmental neurotoxic hazard of the thousands of other chemicals in common commercial use. The extensive time, financial and animal resource requirements for current regulatory testing guideline methods make this an untenable solution to this challenge. A new testing paradigm is needed that uses time and cost-efficient methods to screen large numbers of chemicals for developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). In silico models are needed to provide rapid chemical structure-based screening. In vitro techniques are being developed to provide rapid and efficient testing in cell-free and cell-based systems. In addition, the use of alternative species, such as zebrafish, will provide efficient models for testing the effects of chemicals in organisms with intact developing nervous systems. Finally, these methods and models need to be used in an integrated fashion to provide the data needs for hazard assessment in a manner that is problem-driven and cost-efficient. This paper summarizes discussions on these issues from the symposium ‘Developmental neurotoxicity testing: Scientific approaches towards the next generation to protecting the developing nervous system of children’ held at the 2011 annual meeting of the Japanese Teratology Society.
Abstract In humans, the cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most significant cause of intrauterine infections that cause congenital anomalies. Intrauterine infection with human CMV is thought to be responsible for a variety of abnormalities, including mental retardation, microcephaly, developmental delay, seizure disorders, and cerebral palsy, depending on the timing of the fetal infection, the infectious route, and the virulence of the virus. In addition to the adaptive immune system, the embryo has potential resistance to CMV during early embryogenesis. Embryonic stem (ES) cells are more resistant to CMV than most other cell types, although the mechanism responsible for this resistance is not well understood. ES cells allow approximately 20-fold less murine CMV (MCMV) DNA to enter the nucleus than mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), and this inhibition occurs in a multistep manner. In situ hybridization showed that ES cell nuclei had significantly less MCMV DNA than MEF nuclei. This finding appears to be supported by the fact that ES cells express less heparan sulfate, β1-integrin, and vimentin and have fewer nuclear pores than differentiated cells such as MEF. This may reduce the ability of MCMV to attach to and enter the cellular membrane, translocate to the nucleus, and cross the nuclear membrane in pluripotent stem cells (ES-induced pluripotent stem cells). This finding may indicate a new pathogenesis for the congenital anomaly caused by CMV.
ABSTRACT Historical control data on rabbit prenatal developmental toxicity studies, performed between 1994–2010, were obtained from 20 laboratories, including 11 pharmaceutical and chemical companies and nine contract laboratories, in Japan. In this paper, data were incorporated from a laboratory if the information was based on 10 studies or more. Japanese White rabbits and New Zealand White rabbits were used for prenatal developmental toxicity studies. The data included maternal reproductive findings at terminal cesarean sections and fetal findings including spontaneous incidences of morphological alterations. No noticeable differences between strains or laboratories were observed in the maternal reproductive and fetal developmental data. The inter-laboratory variations in the incidences of fetal external, visceral, and skeletal alterations seem to be due to differences in the selection of observation parameters, observation criteria, and classification of the findings, and terminology of fetal alterations.
ABSTRACT Hertwig's epithelial root sheath (HERS), a bilayered epithelial cell sheath located at the cervical loop of the enamel organ in a developing tooth, is at the forefront of root formation. However, little is known about the exact mechanisms that regulate the development of HERS. The neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is involved in the development of various tissues and cells. In this study, we investigated the roles of VIP in HERS development. VIP-immunoreactive nerve fibers were found in the dental pulp and around the root apex of the tooth, while the expression of VIP receptor 1 (VPAC1) was observed in HERS. The expression level of VPAC1 correlated with the development of HERS and was elevated at postnatal days 14 and 21. Using ex vivo cultures of neonatal tooth germs, VIP enhanced the elongation and proliferation of HERS. In vitro, VIP also promoted the proliferation of cells from the HERS-derived cell line, HERS01a cells, and upregulated the mRNA expression of cytokeratin 14 and vimentin (typical molecular markers of HERS) in these cells. These results suggest that VIP may be an essential factor for HERS development.
ABSTRACT The present study aimed to clarify sulcation and gyration patterns in the developing cerebrum of ferrets. While the brain weight and fronto-occipital length of the cerebral hemisphere reached a plateau by postnatal day (PD) 42, the cerebral width reached a plateau at the rostral region by PD 21, and subsequently at the caudal region by PD 42. The ferret cerebrum already showed a convoluted surface with indentations of coronal and rostral suprasylvian sulci on PD 4. The presylvian and cruciate sulci emerged by PD 10, resulting in convolutions of gyri in the rostral half of the cerebrum. The caudal half of the cerebrum was infolded by the emergence of the pseudosylvian sulcus and the rhinal fissure by PD 10, and the caudal suprasylvian and lateral sulci by PD 21. The emergence of those sulci allowed a gyration in the caudal half of the cerebrum. Sexual differences in sulcation were detected by a more distinct convolution of the visual cortex in males than in females on PD 90. Those results, therefore, suggest that the ferret cerebrum experiences cortical maturation with sulcation and gyration in a rostrocaudal gradient manner. The present paper provides neuroanatomic references for normal development of cerebral sulci and gyri in both sexes of ferrets.
ABSTRACT Duplication of the extrahepatic bile duct is an extremely rare anomaly. There are five types of this anomaly, with type V being the least common variant. Only two cases of type V (one each of type Va and type Vb) have been reported. Here we report the second case of type Va duplication of the common bile duct presenting with choledocholithiasis. The patient underwent open choledocholithotomy and T-tube choledochostomy after failed endoscopic stone clearance. Duplication of the bile duct was detected on T-tube cholangiogram, which was confirmed by magnetic resonance cholangiopancreaticography (MRCP). No associated pancreaticobiliary maljunction was found on the imaging.
ABSTRACT Omphalocele–exstrophy of the bladder (cloaca)–imperforate anus–spinal defects (OEIS) complex describes a rare grouping of more commonly occurring component malformations. We report two cases of OEIS complex diagnosed prenatally by ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In both cases, OEIS complex was suspected by conventional sonography in the second trimester, and fetal MRI was performed at 27 and 32 weeks of gestation. Conventional sonography revealed low abdominal wall mass, spina bifida, absent bladder and ambiguous genitalia, but those findings were inconclusive. Using fetal MRI, we were able to detect omphalocele, imfraumbilical mass connected to gut tract, absent bladder, ambiguous external genitalia and spinal defect. Our findings suggest that fetal MRI is a useful tool for prenatal diagnosis of OEIS complex. MRI helps prenatal counseling and planning of postnatal early treatment strategy.
ABSTRACT Gastroschisis is associated with intestinal atresia and malrotation. A few cases have been reported of appendicular agenesis associated with gastroschisis. No previous case has been reported of cecal agenesis with gastroschisis in the literature. As cecal agenesis is a very rare anomaly, its concomitant presentation with gastroschisis is extremely rare. We report a case of gastroschisis associated with ceco-appendicular agenesis. The possible embryological explanation for the presentation is discussed.