Examining the Relationship Between Gastroschisis and Placental Fetal Vascular Malperfusion

Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2021 Nov-Dec;24(6):531-541. doi: 10.1177/10935266211029629. Epub 2021 Jul 21.


Introduction: Gastroschisis is a congenital malformation characterized by intestinal herniation through an abdominal wall defect. Despite its unknown pathogenesis, known risk factors include maternal smoking, alcohol use, and young maternal age. Previous work has shown that gastroschisis is associated with placental delayed villous maturation, and the goal of this study was to assess for additional associated placental pathologies that may help clarify the pathogenesis of gastroschisis.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective slide review of 29 placentas of neonates with gastroschisis. Additionally, we reviewed pathology reports from one control group of 30 placentas with other congenital malformations. Gross and histological data were collected based on a standardized rubric.

Results: Gastroschisis was associated with increased placental fetal vascular malperfusion (FVM) in 62% of cases (versus 0% of controls, p < 0.0001). It was also associated with increased placental villous maldevelopment in 76% of cases (versus 3% of controls, p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates an association between gastroschisis and FVM. While FVM could be the consequence of vascular disruption due to the ventral location of gastroschisis, it could also reflect estrogen-induced thrombosis in early pregnancy. Further research is needed to separate these possibilities and determine the cause of the placental FVM observed in gastroschisis.

Keywords: GI; basic research; clinical neonatology; dysmorphology; fetal; microscopy; neonatal; placenta; teratology; vascular.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gastroschisis* / diagnosis
  • Gastroschisis* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Placenta
  • Placenta Diseases* / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies