Fetal sheep development on ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging: a standard for the in utero assessment of models of congenital abnormalities

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2006;21(5):444-57. doi: 10.1159/000093888.


Objective: To establish normative data for the size, conspicuity, and imaging characteristics of normal developing fetal sheep organs on ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

Methods: US and MR images of ten normal pregnant sheep, at 40, 65, 90, 115, and 140 gestational days (term = 145 days), were scored for organ conspicuity and imaging characteristics. Imaging biometry was correlated with specimens. Gestational age-based growth parameters were modeled using regression.

Results: Imaging biometry showed excellent correlation with specimens. Kidney, bladder, stomach, lung, liver, and spine were seen well from 65 days to term by US. More organs were consistently visible from 90 days to term by MR than by US. Most organ imaging characteristics tended not to change throughout gestation.

Conclusion: Normal fetal sheep biometry, organ conspicuity, and imaging characteristics are established for US and MR and have potential use for the in utero assessment of sheep models of congenital abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biometry
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Fetal Organ Maturity
  • Gestational Age
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / standards*
  • Sheep / embryology*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*