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Pioneering a Chick Embryo Model to Explore the Intrauterine Etiology of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip in Oligohydramnios Conditions.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the impact of oligohydramnios on fetal movement and hip development, given its association with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) but unclear mechanisms.

METHODS: Chick embryos were divided into four groups based on the severity of oligohydramnios induced by amniotic fluid aspiration (control, 0.2 mL, 0.4 mL, 0.6 mL). Fetal movement was assessed by detection of movement and quantification of residual amniotic fluid volume. Hip joint development was assessed by gross anatomic analysis, micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) for cartilage assessment, and histologic observation at multiple time points. In addition, a subset of embryos from the 0.4 mL aspirated group underwent saline reinfusion and subsequent evaluation.

RESULTS: Increasing volumes of aspirated amniotic fluid resulted in worsening of fetal movement restrictions (e.g., 0.4mL aspirated and control group at E10: frequency difference -7.765 [95% CI: -9.125, -6.404]; amplitude difference -0.343 [95% CI: -0.588, -0.097]). The 0.4mL aspirated group had significantly smaller hip measurements compared to controls, with reduced acetabular length (-0.418 [95% CI: -0.575, -0.261]) and width (-0.304 [95% CI: -0.491, -0.117]) at day E14.5. Histological analysis revealed a smaller femoral head (1.084±0.264 cm) and shallower acetabulum (0.380±0.106 cm) in the 0.4mL group. Micro-CT showed cartilage matrix degeneration (13.6% [95% CI: 0.6%, 26.7%], P=0.043 on E14.5). Saline reinfusion resulted in significant improvements in the femoral head to greater trochanter (0.578 [95% CI: 0.323, 0.833], P=0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Oligohydramnios can cause DDH by restricting fetal movement and disrupting hip morphogenesis in a time-dependent manner. Timely reversal of oligohydramnios during the fetal period may prevent DDH.

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