Intestinal Rotation and Physiological Umbilical Herniation During the Embryonic Period

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Drastic changes occur during the formation of the intestinal loop (IL), including elongation, physiological umbilical herniation (PUH), and midgut rotation. Fifty-four sets of magnetic resonance images of embryos between Carnegie stage (CS) 14 and CS 23 were used to reconstruct embryonic digestive tract in three dimensions in the Amira program. Elongation, PUH, and rotation were quantified in relation to the proximal part of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA), designated as the origin. Up to CS 16, IL rotation was initially observed as a slight deviation of the duodenum and colorectum from the median plane. The PUH was noticeable after CS 17. At CS 18, the IL showed a hairpin-like structure, with the SMA running parallel to the straight part and the cecum located to the left. After CS 19, the IL began to form a complex structure as a result of the rapid growth of the small intestinal portion. By CS 20, the IL starting point had moved from the right cranial region to an area caudal to the origin, though elongation of the duodenum was not conspicuous-this was a change of almost 180° in position. The end of the IL remained in roughly the same place, to the left of and caudal to the origin. Notably, the IL rotated around the origin only during earlier stages and gradually moved away, running transversely after CS 19. The movements of the IL may be explained as the result of differential growth, suggesting that IL rotation is passive.


  • The Anatomical Record

    The Anatomical Record 299(2), 197-206, 2016-02

    Blackwell Publishing Inc.


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