Type XIII collagen is a type II transmembrane protein found at sites of cell adhesion. Transgenic mouse lines were generated by microinjection of a DNA construct directing the synthesis of truncated alpha1(XIII) chains. Shortened alpha 1(XIII) chains were synthesized by fibroblasts from mutant mice, and the lack of intracellular accumulation in immunofluorescent staining of tissues suggested that the mutant molecules were expressed on the cell surface. Transgene expression led to fetal lethality in offspring from heterozygous mating with two distinct phenotypes. The early phenotype fetuses were aborted by day 10.5 of development due to a lack of fusion of the chorionic and allantoic membranes. The late phenotype fetuses were aborted by day 13.5 of development and displayed a weak heartbeat, defects of the adherence junctions in the heart with detachment of myofilaments and abnormal staining for the adherence junction component cadherin. Decreased microvessel formation was observed in certain regions of the fetus and the placenta. These results indicate that type XIII collagen has an important role in certain adhesive interactions that are necessary for normal development.
OBJECTIVE: Fetal urine production at different gestational ages has been evaluated using ultrasound in several previous studies. In a recent study, we investigated the accuracy when estimating the bladder volume using the conventional ultrasound technique and found a total variability of 17.3-10.9% for bladder volumes of 5-40 mL. The variability is mainly caused by: (i) inappropriate image selection (the 'freezing error') and (ii) limitations when measuring on the frozen image (the 'frozen error'). The aim of this study was to reduce the total error by reducing the 'freezing' and the 'frozen error'. To this end, we used a modified manual ultrasound technique (adding a 'rocking' motion to the conventional method) and digitized the selected image. METHODS: Two patients for each gestational week from 24 to 40 weeks were selected. The fetal urinary bladder was examined with ultrasound three times within 1 min and documented on videotape. The volume, as assessed by the longitudinal section of the recorded bladder images, stored in digitized form, was evaluated on three occasions with > 24 h in between. The mean and variability (standard deviation, SD) were estimated. RESULTS: For fetal bladder volumes between 5 and 40 mL, the 'freezing error' (SD), the 'frozen error' and the 'total error' were 11.7-5.1%, 8.0-3.0% and 14.2-5.9%, respectively. Comparing the present with a previous study, when selecting images and assessing bladder volumes repeatedly within 1 min, SD was 12.9-5.5% vs. 17.3-10.9%. CONCLUSIONS: Using a modified ultrasound technique, the variability in fetal bladder volume estimation can be reduced.
We have previously reported an increase in schizophrenia diagnoses in a population exposed during the second trimester to the 1957 influenza epidemic. These basic findings together with a fair number of replications have been interpreted as supporting a neurodevelopmental contribution to the origins of schizophrenia. Recent neuroimaging findings suggest that affective illness may also have a neurodevelopmental origin. We examined the hypothesis that exposure to an influenza epidemic during the second trimester would increase the risk for adult major affective disorder.
The subjects had been exposed as fetuses to the type A2/Singapore influenza epidemic in greater Helsinki, Finland. Control subjects were born in the 6 years before the epidemic.
We found a significant (P .05) were similar. The second-trimester effect remained when we estimated population-based rates (2.1 vs 0.6 per 1000) (P .05) elevation was observed for the bipolar forms of major affective disorder.
These data are consistent with the hypothesis concerning the possible neurodevelopmental contribution to the origins of some forms of major affective disorder, especially unipolar depressive disorder. These encouraging findings, if replicated, may suggest that some mental disorders may stem, in part, from a disturbance in the development of the fetal brain during the second trimester.
Impaired fetal growth is associated with increased susceptibility to several chronic diseases. We studied the association between birth weight, indicators of disproportional fetal growth, and impaired visual acuity and hearing in 4,300 conscripts from a well-defined region in Denmark from August 1, 1993, to July 31, 1994. From the standard health examination for conscripts, we obtained data on sight based on the Snellen's chart and data on hearing acuity based on audiometry. By means of record linkage, we obtained data on outcomes for the conscripts at birth from the Medical Birth Registry. From this registry, we have data on birth weight, gestational age, and birth length that were recorded from existing computerized registers based on the records of midwives. A birth weight of less than 3,000 gm and a body mass index at birth of less than 3.4 were associated with reduced visual acuity and impaired hearing. The results could be due to fetal brain programming or due to confounding, by early birth trauma or other factors.
This article reports the results of a survey, by mailed questionnaire, of the attitudes among a sample of the Danish population towards abortion for social and genetic reasons. Of 1080 questionnaires sent to a random sample of persons between 18 and 45 years, 731 (68%) were completed and returned. A great majority of the respondents were liberal towards early abortion both for social reasons and in case of minor disease. In contrast, there was controversy about late abortions for social reasons and in the case of Down syndrome. Further there was strong reluctance to accept late abortion in case of minor disease. An analysis of the response patterns showed that most of the respondents had gradualist views on abortion, i.e. they would allow all early abortions, but only abortions for some reasons later in pregnancy. It was also found that the number who would find an early abortion acceptable in general was much higher than the number who would accept it in their own case. These findings suggest that a great part of the resistance towards abortion does not rest on a concern for the rights and interests for the fetus. Instead it may be explained on a view according to which fetal life is ascribed intrinsic moral value.