Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on 3-week-old Sprague-Dawley rat proximal tibia: an immunohistochemical and three-dimensional micro computed tomography X-Ray investigation

Perry, Vaughan
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Intrauterine alcohol exposure is detrimental to fetal and postnatal development. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe effect of prenatal alcohol exposure. Of the abnormalities that are characteristic of FAS, there are relatively few research studies on the effects of gestational alcohol exposure on skeletal development. Hence, we aimed at investigating the effects of prenatal alcohol consumption on the proximal growth plate of the tibia in 3 week old rats. Time mated pregnant Sprague Dawley dams were assigned into either the ethanol (n=6), saline (n=6) control and untreated control groups (n=3). These rat dams were treated with 0.015 ml/kg of 25.2% ethanol and 0.9% saline by oral gavage during the 19 days of gestation respectively. While the untreated control group remained untreated. Two pups from each dame were selected from the three groups (n=60) and reared for three weeks. These pups were then terminated by intraperitoneal anesthetic injection of sodium pentobarbital. Following an abdominal incision the carcasses were fixed in 10% buffered formalin prior to the dissection of limbs. Bilateral tibiae were harvested, soft tissue was cleaned off the tibiae and then these fixed in 10% buffered formalin. The proximal end of the left tibiae, was subjected to histological and immunohistochemical staining analysis. The, epiphyseal plate area, proliferative zone and hypertrophic zone length, number of cells, area, and number of proliferative cells where evaluated. For osteometric analysis bilateral tibiae were subjected to three-dimensional micro-focus computed tomography investigations.
A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Medicine, 2018