Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Bryan Richardson


Aberrant neuronal connectivity in utero may underlie the association between fetal growth restriction (FGR) and increased risk for later cognitive disorders and encephalopathy. This study examines changes in synaptic development and myelination focussing on the hippocampus using a guinea pig model of placental insufficiency. Placental insufficiency was induced at mid-gestation by uterine artery ligation or cauterization which produced fetuses with a range of body weight and proportion at term. Synaptic markers, synaptophysin and synaptopodin, were decreased in FGR animals suggesting fewer synapses were formed and furthermore that fewer synapses matured with symmetrical growth restriction when compared to appropriate for gestational age guinea pigs. Myelination, measured using myelin basic protein and luxol fast blue, was also reduced in FGR animals and increased in large animals compared to appropriate size for gestational age guinea pigs. Therefore, neuronal connections altered with FGR and may spur difficulties in early childhood neurodevelopment and various neurological sequellae.