Intrauterine endotoxin administration leads to white matter diffusivity changes in newborn rabbits

Fadoua Saadani-Makki, Sujatha Kannan, Malek Makki, Otto Muzik, James Janisse, Roberto Romero, Diane Chugani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Maternal intrauterine inflammation has been implicated in the development of periventricular leukomalacia and white matter injury in the neonate. We hypothesized that intrauterine endotoxin administration would lead to microstructural changes in the neonatal rabbit white matter in vivo that could be detected at birth using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Term newborn rabbit kits (gestational age 31 days) born to dams exposed to saline or endotoxin in utero on gestational day 28 underwent diffusion tensor imaging, and brain sections were stained for microglia. Comparison between normal and endotoxin groups showed significant decreases in both fractional anisotropy and eigenvalue (e1) in all periventricular white matter regions that showed an increase in the number of activated microglial cells, indicating that after maternal inflammation, microglial infiltration may predominantly explain this change in diffusivity in the immediate neonatal period. Diffusion tensor imaging may be a clinically useful tool for detecting neuroinflammation induced by maternal infection in neonatal white matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1189
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Intrauterine inflammation
  • Microglia
  • Neuroinflammation
  • New Zealand white rabbits
  • Periventricular leukomalacia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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