Scar formation in the fetal alimentary tract

J Pediatr Surg. 1995 Mar;30(3):392-5. doi: 10.1016/0022-3468(95)90039-x.


The aim of this study was to determine whether the fetal alimentary tract shares the unique scarless healing properties of fetal skin. Full-thickness incisional gastric wounds were created and sutured closed in fetal lambs at 60, 75, and 120 days' gestation (full term, 145 days), and in adult control sheep. At the time of harvest, 14 days postwounding, dense fibrous adhesions were found intraperitoneally in all fetal and adult animals. Histologically, all fetal and adult gastric wounds healed with pronounced scar formation. In contrast to the adult wound, there was no significant inflammatory response in the fetal wounds. Because scar formed in the absence of inflammation in fetal gastric wounds, there is no obvious relation between scarring and the inflammatory response at this location. This study shows that not all fetal tissues exhibit scarless repair properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / physiopathology*
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Gastric Mucosa / injuries
  • Sheep
  • Stomach / injuries*
  • Tissue Adhesions / pathology
  • Wound Healing / physiology*