Neuropathology of the near-term and midgestation ovine fetal brain after sustained in utero hypoxemia

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 May;170(5 Pt 1):1425-32. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(94)70175-x.


Objective: The neuropathologic mechanisms of the ovine fetal brain in response to several hours of sustained hypoxemia with variable degrees of metabolic acidemia was investigated in both the preterm and near-term ovine fetus.

Study design: Three groups of fetuses were studied in each of the near-term and midgestation groups: a hypoxic group, a control group, and an uninstrumented control group. Histopathologic studies were performed after a 40-hour recovery period after experimentation.

Results: Pathologic findings consisted of predominately white matter damage with some adjacent cortical necrosis but no selective neuronal injury. In the near-term group the hypoxia group fetuses demonstrated significantly higher white matter injury scores than did control group fetuses (p < 0.05). Periventricular white matter injury was the predominant pattern seen in the midgestation group.

Conclusions: In spite of normalization of biophysical and biochemical parameters after hypoxemia both midgestation and near-term fetuses sustained pathologic changes. Presence or extent of injury did not correlate with the degree of hypoxemia or metabolic acidosis achieved.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / complications
  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • Fetal Diseases / etiology*
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology
  • Gestational Age
  • Hypoxia / complications*
  • Necrosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Sheep