Fetal Cardiac Impairment in Nitrofen-Induced Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia: Postmortem Microcomputed Tomography Imaging Study

Fetal Pediatr Pathol. 2017 Aug;36(4):282-293. doi: 10.1080/15513815.2017.1315198. Epub 2017 May 8.


Introduction: We assessed the post-mortem micro-CT utility to evaluate fetal cardiac impairment in nitrofen-induced congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

Methods: At 9.5d postconception (dpc), pregnant rats were exposed to nitrofen. At +18 and +21dpc, fetuses were harvested by cesarean section. Postmortem micro-CT and autopsy were performed. Fetuses were assigned to three experimental groups: Control group (C), Nitrofen group (N, exposition to nitrofen without CDH), CDH group. Cardio-pulmonary indices were evaluated.

Results: An accurate morphological evaluation of the lung and heart was obtained. Early cardiac impairment was present in the N and CDH groups. At term pregnancy, an increased maximum diameter and decreased minimum diameter of the ventricles and increased interventricular septal thickness were noted in CDH. Histology showed a myocardial "disarray" and an high density of mitotic myocytes in CDH at midgestation.

Conclusions: The potential utility of post-mortem fetal micro-CT examination in CDH was introduced. The results highlighted the presence of cardiac adaptation in affected fetuses.

Keywords: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia; fetal cardiac impairment; microcomputed tomography; nitrofen; virtual autopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autopsy
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital / chemically induced
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital / pathology
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Phenyl Ethers / toxicity
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / diagnostic imaging
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods*


  • Pesticides
  • Phenyl Ethers
  • nitrofen