Airway and vascular maturation stimulated by tracheal occlusion do not correlate in the rabbit model of diaphragmatic hernia
BACKGROUND: In animal models of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), tracheal occlusion (TO) has induced maturation of both airway spaces and vascular structures. Airway and vascular response to TO are assumed to occur in parallel. This study aims to describe and measure the relationship between airway and vascular maturation induced by TO. METHODS: A rabbit model of CDH on gestational day (GD) 23 and TO on GD 28 (term = GD 31) has been used. Two study groups have been defined: DH (diaphragmatic hernia) and TO (DH treated with TO). Animals were collected on GD 30 and blood flow data of the pulmonary artery (pulsatility index (PI) and fractional moving blood volume) were ultrasonographically measured. Lung morphometry consisted of measurements of radial alveolar count (RAC) and arterial muscular thickness. RESULTS: Animals in the DH group (n = 9) had the worst hemodynamic parameters; their lungs were hypoplastic and had the thickest arterial muscular layer. Animals in the TO group (n = 10) had all these effects reversed. There were no correlations among hemodynamic, airway, and vascular parameters, except for RAC and PI (r = -0.528, P = 0.043). CONCLUSION: Airway and vascular maturation after TO appear to be uncorrelated effects. TO could trigger several pathways that separately regulate airway and vascular responses.