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Oral, nasal and pharyngeal exposure to lipopolysaccharide causes a fetal inflammatory response in sheep.



A fetal inflammatory response (FIR) in sheep can be induced by intraamniotic or selective exposure of the fetal lung or gut to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The oral, nasal, and pharyngeal cavities (ONP) contain lymphoid tissue and epithelium that are in contact with the amniotic fluid. The ability of the ONP epithelium and lymphoid tissue to initiate a FIR is unknown.


To determine if FIR occurs after selective ONP exposure to LPS in fetal sheep.


Using fetal recovery surgery, we isolated ONP from the fetal lung, GI tract, and amniotic fluid by tracheal and esophageal ligation and with an occlusive glove fitted over the snout. LPS (5 mg) or saline was infused with 24 h Alzet pumps secured in the oral cavity (n = 7-8/group). Animals were delivered 1 or 6 days after initiation of the LPS or saline infusions.


The ONP exposure to LPS had time-dependent systemic inflammatory effects with changes in WBC in cord blood, an increase in posterior mediastinal lymph node weight at 6 days, and pro-inflammatory mRNA responses in the fetal plasma, lung, and liver. Compared to controls, the expression of surfactant protein A mRNA increased 1 and 6 days after ONP exposure to LPS.


ONP exposure to LPS alone can induce a mild FIR with time-dependent inflammatory responses in remote fetal tissues not directly exposed to LPS.

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