Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula: Suggested mechanism in faulty organogenesis JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC SURGERY Crisera, C. A., Connelly, P. R., Marmureanu, A. R., Colen, K. L., Rose, M. I., Li, M., Longaker, M. T., Gittes, G. K. 1999; 34 (1): 204-208


The organogenesis of esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula (EA-TEF) is unknown. Using an established model for EA-TEF in rats, the authors proposed to study this aberrancy of development in the hope of gaining insight into its mechanism of formation.Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with 2.2 mg/kg of Adriamycin intraperitoneally on days 6 through 9 of gestation. Using microdissection, the trachea, blind-ending esophagus, TEF, and stomach were isolated from embryos of various gestional ages. The specimens were analyzed histologically with routine H&E staining.The classic EA-TEF developed in the embryos, with proximal EA and distal TEF. As expected, the atresia formed as a blind-ending pouch, but the distal fistula began as an apparent equal trifurcation of the tracheal anlage into two mainstem bronchi and the fistula tract leading to the stomach. Histological analysis of the fistula tract showed respiratorylike pseudostratified columnar epithelium.TEF develops as the middle branch of a tracheal trifurcation. EA-TEF occurs by a primary atresia of the esophagus. As a secondary phenomenon, the distal foregut anlage is switched toward the pulmonary phenotype. It trifurcates, and its middle branch grows caudally to fistulize into the stomach.

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