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Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 1996 Sep;33(5):369-78.

Coronal suture pathology and synostotic progression in rabbits with congenital craniosynostosis.

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Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


The purpose of the present study was to describe coronal suture pathology and cross sectional synostotic progression in an inbred strain of rabbits with congenital craniosynostosis. Calvaria from 102 perinatal rabbits (39 unaffected; 63 bilateral or unilateral synostosis) were collected at fetal days 21 (n = 12), 25 (n = 20), 27 (n = 22), 30 (term) (n = 32), and 3 days post-term (n = 16) for gross morphologic and histologic examination. Synostotic foci, the extent of relative bony bridging, and suture morphology were evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively. Of the 204 coronal sutures examined, 91 sutures were synostosed, and 113 were patent. All synostosed sutures showed similar foci by day 25, which originated as bony bridges in the middle of each suture on the ectocortic surface. Bony bridging width increased significantly (p < .001) from day 25 through 3 days post-term, and was best described by a linear regression equation. Osteogenic front areas of synostosed sutures were up to 2.5 times greater than patent sutures in term fetuses. Findings demonstrate that coronal suture synostosis in the congenital rabbit model (1) begins early during suture morphogenesis (before 25 days of gestation); (2) consistently radiates from a single focus corresponding to a normal interdigitating region (i.e., a high-tension environment); (3) varies in onset and rate as evidenced by low R2 value between age and extent of bony bridging; and (4) is the result of early hyperostosis of the osteogenic fronts and sutural agenesis. A number of possible pathogenetic mechanisms are discussed.

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