Experimental Fetal Neurosurgery: The Normal Neurology of Neonatal Lambs and Abnormal Findings after in Utero Manipulation

Kathleen M. Huffman, Gregory B. Timmel, Claudia Meuli-Simmen, Martin Meuli, Charles D. Yingling, N. Scott Adzick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The growing interest in experimental fetal neurosurgery necessitates establishment of normal neurologic parameters for the neonatal animal. The aim of this study was to establish a standardized neurologic examination of the newborn lamb and to provide normal neurologic values so that various abnormalities of the nervous system could be evaluated systematically. Ten normal neonatal lambs and 27 neonatal lambs that underwent in utero neurosurgery were examined. The examination included general health, mental status, and a detailed neurologic evaluation. In addition, somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) were measured in all animals, and histologic examination was performed in the manipulated animals. The normal lambs only had minor variations in results of cranial nerve, reflex, and reaction tests that improved appreciably in the first 48 h of life. Sensorimotor sciatic paralysis was diagnosed in the lambs with intrauterine sciatic nerve transection (n = 10), and the animals with thoracic spinal cord transection (n = 8) had complete paraplegia. The lambs with in utero-induced spinal bifida (n = 8) had variable findings depending on the time point of fetal surgery and whether the lesions were subsequently repaired in utero. In all lambs, the clinical findings were consistent with the subsequently obtained electrophysiologic and histologic data. The examination system used is an efficient, accurate, and reliable tool to evaluate neurologic function in neonatal sheep. Furthermore, we provide normal neurologic values as important baseline information for studies that require neurologic evaluation of possibly abnormal neonatal sheep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-56
Number of pages4
JournalContemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental Fetal Neurosurgery: The Normal Neurology of Neonatal Lambs and Abnormal Findings after in Utero Manipulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this