Cartilaginous metaplasia and overgrowth of neurocranium skull after X-irradiation in utero

Wolfgang Schmahl, Inge Meyer, Heinz Kriegel, Karl Heinz Tempel

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Prenatal X-irradiation of mice in the late organogenesis stage either with a fractionated or a single exposure dose (3 × 160 R or 200 R) leads to remarkable, previously undescribed malformations of the skull. These malformations range from mild hyperostotic nodule formation in about 90% of the offspring to excessive formation of desmal bony tissues, which extend deep into the forebrain and are thus only detectable in histological sections. Metaplastic and hyperplastic formation of cartilage in all the neurocranial regions is observed in about 10% of the offspring. The pathogenesis of these overgrowth phenomena is presumably related to a growth disturbance of both the mesenchymal skull primordium and the brain. While malformation of the latter leads to a decrease of intracranial pressure and consequently to altered growth activity of the skull sutures, the reparative and proliferative capacities of the mesenchyme are also stimulated, in a hyperplastic direction, by X-irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
JournalVirchows Archiv A Pathological Anatomy and Histology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • In utero
  • Overgrowth
  • X-irradiation


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