Abstract The developing brain is extremely sensitive to many chemicals. Exposure to neurotoxicants during development has been implicated in various neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Although rodents have been widely used for developmental neurotoxicity testing, experiments using large numbers of rodents are time-consuming, expensive, and raise ethical concerns. Using alternative non-mammalian animal models may relieve some of these pressures by allowing testing of large numbers of subjects while reducing expenses and minimizing the use of mammalian subjects. In this review, we discuss some of the advantages of using zebrafish in developmental neurotoxicity testing, focusing on central nervous system development, neurobehavior, toxicokinetics, and toxicodynamics in this species. We also describe some important examples of developmental neurotoxicity testing using zebrafish combined with gene expression profiling, neuroimaging, or neurobehavioral assessment. Zebrafish may be a systems toxicology model that has the potential to reveal the pathways of developmental neurotoxicity and to provide a sound basis for human risk assessments.
Abstract The membranous labyrinth of the inner ear is a highly complex organ that detects sound and balance. Developmental defects in the inner ear cause congenital hearing loss and balance disorders. The membranous labyrinth consists of three semicircular ducts, the utricle, saccule, and endolymphatic ducts, and the cochlear duct. These complex structures develop from the simple otic placode, which is established in the cranial ectoderm adjacent to the neural crest at the level of the hindbrain at the early neurula stage. During development, the otic placode invaginates to form the otic vesicle, which subsequently gives rise to neurons for the vestibulocochlear ganglion, the non-sensory and sensory epithelia of the membranous labyrinth that includes three ampullary crests, two maculae, and the organ of Corti. Combined paracrine and autocrine signals including fibroblast growth factor, Wnt, retinoic acid, hedgehog, and bone morphogenetic protein regulate fate determination, axis formation, and morphogenesis in the developing inner ear. Juxtacrine signals mediated by Notch pathways play a role in establishing the sensory epithelium, which consists of mechanosensory hair cells and supporting cells. The highly differentiated organ of Corti, which consists of uniformly oriented inner/outer hair cells and specific supporting cells, develops during fetal development. Developmental alterations/arrest causes congenital malformations in the inner ear in a spatiotemporal-restricted manner. A clearer understanding of the mechanisms underlying inner ear development is important not only for the management of patients with congenital inner ear malformations, but also for the development of regenerative therapy for impaired function.
Abstract Semaphorins and their receptors, neuropilins and plexins, were initially characterized as a modulator of axonal guidance during development, but are now recognized as a regulator of a wide range of developmental events including morphogenesis and angiogenesis, and activities of the immune system. Owing to the development of next-generation sequencing technologies together with other useful DNA assays, it has also become clear that semaphorin signaling plays a crucial role in many congenital diseases such as retinal degeneration and congenital heart defects. This review summarizes the recent knowledge about the relationship between a variety of congenital diseases and semaphorin signaling.
Abstract To characterize a new function of the water-soluble vitamin, biotin, in reproduction and early growth in mammals, the effects of high dietary doses of biotin on early spermatogenesis were biochemically and histologically investigated in male rats. Weaned rats were fed a CE-2 (control) diet containing 0.00004% biotin, or a control diet supplemented with 0.01%, 0.1%, or 1.0% biotin. Pair-fed rats were fed a control diet that was equal in calories to the amount ingested by the 1.0% biotin group, because food intake was decreased in the 1.0% biotin group. Food intake and body weight gain were lower in the 1.0% biotin group than in the control group. The kidney, brain and testis weights were significantly lower in the 1.0% biotin group than in the pair-fed group after 6 weeks of feeding. The accumulation of biotin in the liver and testis increased in a dose-dependent manner. In the 1.0% biotin group, the number of mature sperm was markedly lower, that of sperm with morphologically abnormal heads, mainly consisting of round heads, had increased. In addition, the development of seminiferous tubules was inhibited, and few spermatogonia and no spermatocytes were histologically observed. These results demonstrated that the long-term intake of high-dose biotin inhibited spermatogenesis in young male rats.
Abstract The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hypospadias over 24 years in a Danish population and to describe the relation to birthweight and associated major congenital anomalies. It is a population-based study of all cases (live births, fetal deaths and elective terminations of pregnancy) with hypospadias born in the period 1986–2009 in Funen County and reported to the EUROCAT registry of congenital anomalies. Cases were included only if surgery for hypospadias was performed. 223 cases of hypospadias were registered during the period 1986–2009 with an overall prevalence of 16.9 per 10 000 births. The prevalence was significantly higher in 2000–2009 compared to 1986–1999 (P <0.001). We found a three times higher occurrence of VLBW (very low birthweight) infants among cases with hypospadias. Infants with isolated hypospadias were more likely to have mild hypospadias (68%) while cases with associated major congenital anomalies were less likely to have mild hypospadias (42%) (P < 0.05). Hypospadias was associated with VLBW and the severity of the defect was related to the presence of major congenital anomalies. The prevalence of hypospadias has increased during the study period. The relation to VLBW could indicate a causal relationship for hypospadias or a shared pathogenic factor.
Abstract The aim of this retrospective hospital-based study was to elucidate the dentomaxillofacial characteristics of ectodermal dysplasia. Six Japanese individuals (one male and five female; age range, 12.7–27.2 years) underwent comprehensive examinations, including history recording, cephalometric analysis, panoramic radiography, and analysis of dental models. All the subjects had two or more major manifestations for clinical diagnosis of ectodermal dysplasia (e.g., defects of hair, teeth, nails, and sweat glands). They presented hypodontia (mean number of missing teeth, 9.5; range, 5–14), especially in the premolar region, and enamel dysplasia. Five subjects had bilateral molar occlusion, whereas one subject had unilateral molar occlusion. The common skeletal features were small facial height, maxillary hypoplasia, counterclockwise rotation of the mandible, and mandibular protrusion. Interestingly, the maxillary first molars were located in higher positions and the upper anterior facial height was smaller than the Japanese norm. The results suggest that vertical and anteroposterior maxillary growth retardation, rather than lack of occlusal support due to hypodontia, leads to reduced anterior facial height in individuals with ectodermal dysplasia.
Abstract Previously an unexpected association of maternal angina pectoris (MAP) during pregnancy with a higher risk of orofacial clefts in their children was found. There were three objectives of this study: (i) to evaluate the validity of MAP-diagnoses in the previous study and the recent history of mothers with MAP in a follow-up study; (ii) to estimate the prevalence of other congenital abnormalities in the offspring of mothers with MAP; and (iii) to analyze the possible effect of confounders for the risk of orofacial clefts. The large dataset of population-based Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance System of Congenital Abnormalities, 1980–1996 was evaluated including 22 843 cases with congenital abnormalities and 38 151 controls without any defect. Twenty-two cases (0.10%) and 12 controls (0.03%) were born to mothers with medically recorded MAP (odds ratio [OR] with 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.7, 1.8–7.3). Of 22 cases, six had isolated cleft lip ± palate (OR with 95% CI: 13.3, 4.9–35.9) and two were affected with isolated cleft palate (OR with 95% CI: 10.5, 2.3–47.6). The diagnosis of MAP was confirmed in seven women visited at home in 2009–2010, two had recent myocardial infarction and five were smokers. There was no higher risk for other congenital abnormalities. In conclusion the higher risk of orofacial clefts was confirmed in the children of mothers with MAP and smoking may trigger the genetic predisposition of both MAP and orofacial clefts. However, the number of cases was limited and therefore further studies are needed to confirm or reject this theoretically and practically important observation.
Abstract In utero hematopoietic cell transplantation (IUHCT) has been performed in Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII (MPSVII) mice, but a lifelong engraftment of allogeneic donor cells has not been achieved. In this study, we sought to confirm a lifelong engraftment of allogeneic donor cells immunologically matched to the mother and to achieve partial rescue of phenotypes in the original MPSVII strain through IUHCT by intravenous injection. We performed in vitro fertilization in a MPSVII murine model and transferred affected embryos to ICR/B6-GFP surrogate mothers in cases where fetuses receiving IUHCT were all homozygous. Lineage-depleted cells from ICR/B6-GFP mice were injected intravenously at E14.5. Chimerism was confirmed by flow cytometry at 4 weeks after birth, and β-glucuronidase activity in serum and several phenotypes were assessed at 8 weeks of age or later. Donor cells in chimeric mice from ICR/B6-GFP mothers were detected at death, and were confirmed in several tissues including the brains of sacrificed chimeric mice. Although the serum enzyme activity of chimeric mice was extremely low, the engraftment rate of donor cells correlated with enzyme activity. Furthermore, improvement of bone structure and rescue of reproductive ability were confirmed in our limited preclinical study. We confirmed the lifelong engraftment of donor cells in an original immunocompetent MPSVII murine model using intravenous IUHCT with cells immunologically matched to the mother without myeloablation, and the improvement of several phenotypes.
Abstract Exomphalos may be associated with chromosomal abnormalities and syndromes. Severe exomphalos (herniation of liver, midgut and spleen) associated with increased nuchal translucency was seen at first trimester screening test. Karyotype by chorionic villus sampling showed normal male fetus. Follow up scan at 16 and 18 weeks of gestation confirmed the severe exomphalos and detected micrognathia and tetralogy of Fallot. Array comparative genomic hybridization (a-CGH) further demonstrated a 408 kb 15q11.2 microduplication, with the father-to-be as healthy carrier. This is the first case of an association between 15q11.2 micorduplication and fetal sonographic anomalies. Genetic counseling for estimation of recurrent risk of congenital anomalies is discussed.