Evidence of a common pathogenesis for foregut duplications and esophageal atresia with tracheo-esophageal fistula



The pathogenesis of the alimentary tract duplications, including foregut duplications (FgD) remains speculative. The accidental finding of FgD in fetal rats with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula (EA-TEF) induced by Adriamycin provided an animal model to investigate a possible relationship between these two entities. Timed-pregnant rats were intraperitoneally injected with Adriamycin (1.75 mg/kg) on gestational Days 6 to 9. Their embryos were harvested by Caesarean section from gestational Days 14 to 21. Forty-six of embryos were processed and serially sectioned in the transverse or sagittal planes. EA-TEF occurred in 43/46 (93%) embryos of which 11 (24%) were found to have an associated FgD located at the level where the esophagus was absent. Six FgDs communicated with the foregut or the trachea. Five noncommunicating FgDs were located between the foregut and the vertebral column. In the control embryo, the notochord was located in the centre of the vertebral column from Day 11 of the gestation. In Day 14, 15 and 16, however, embryos exposed to Adriamycin, an abnormal notochord or branch frequently was located within the mesenchyme of the maldeveloped foregut or attached to the duplication cyst. In some, it appeared that the notochord was drawing the cyst-like structure away from the foregut. The present study confirms that duplications adjacent to the esophagus arise from the foregut and that failure of the foregut to detach from the notochord at the normal time may contribute to the development of foregut duplications. Anat Rec 264:93–100, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.