Research ArticleBrain Development

Abnormal neurogenesis and cortical growth in congenital heart disease

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Science Translational Medicine  25 Jan 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 374, eaah7029
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah7029

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Getting to the heart of the matter in brain development

Congenital heart disease (CHD), the most common birth defect in newborns, can be associated with developmental delays. Although reduced blood flow, genetic factors, and brain injury are thought to contribute, the cellular mechanisms underlying abnormal brain development due to CHD are unclear. Morton et al. used a piglet model of neonatal hypoxia to study the relationship between neural stem/progenitor cells and cortical development. Chronic hypoxia reduced the number of stem/progenitor cells within the subventricular zone in piglet brains, which limited the number of interneurons and cortical growth. These findings were also seen in brain tissue from human infants with CHD.