The embryology of the diaphragm

Seminars in Pediatric Surgery
Steffi MayerD Kluth


Despite the progress in prenatal diagnosis and intervention as well as postnatal therapeutic strategies, congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is still associated with a meaningful mortality because of the induced pulmonary hypoplasia. An essential key in understanding the pathogenesis of CDH is the underlying embryology, which has been neglected during the last decades. Likewise, the development of the normal diaphragm is still poorly understood. Obsolescent perceptions, mainly formed from histologic sections, are still propagated. In this review we present an atlas of scanning electron microscopy images that depict the normal and defective development of the diaphragm in the nitrofen rat model for CDH. Our findings suggest that the normal diaphragm mainly develops from the posthepatic mesenchymal plate. If the development of the posthepatic mesenchymal plate is impaired, a diaphragmatic defect occurs.


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