Evaluation of the bioeffects of prenatal ultrasound exposure in the cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis): I. Neonatal/infant observations

Alice F Tarantal, Andrew G Hendrickx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The frequency of use of ultrasonography for evaluating the developing embryo/fetus has continued to rise although the possible risks from exposure still remain uncertain. The cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is currently being used in our laboratory as a model to assess these risks. In utero exposure was performed utilizing a commercial real-time mechanical sector scanner with a 7.5 MHz scanhead (ATL, MK 600). Maximum acoustic power output for this unit is as follows: I(SPTA) = 12.0 mW/cm2, I(SPPA) = 98 W/cm2, and I(m) = 137 W/cm2. Animals exposed to ultrasound (N = 16) were scanned five times weekly on gestational days (GD) 21-35 ± 2 for 10 minutes/exam (m/e), three times weekly on GD 36-60 ± 2 for 10 m/e, and once weekly on GD 61-150 ± 2 for 20 m/e. Controls (N = 14) were 'scanned' with the unit placed on standby. Assessment of simian Apgar scores at 1, 5, and 10 minutes of life revealed higher scores for treated animals at 10 minutes (P ≤ 0.045); greater scores in muscle tone (P ≤ 0.013) and color (P ≤ 0.016) were observed. Evaluation of morphometrics at birth including weight, biparietal diameter, occipitofrontal diameter, head circumference, hand and foot lengths, humerus and femur lengths, arm circumference, chest circumference, tail length, skinfold thickness, and crowm-rump length (CRL) indicated a significant reduction in only two parameters, birth weight (P ≤ 0.027) and CRL (P ≤ 0.033). Hematologic analysis at 2 ± 1, 9 ± 1, and 16 ± 1 days of life revealed a significant difference in white blood cell counts (WBCs). Treated animals displayed lower WBCs with reductions in numbers of segmented neutrophils and monocytes at all ages observed. Hematologic differences were not significant by 5-6 months of age. No abortions, gross malformations, or stillbirths were observed in the exposed animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Embryology
  • Toxicology


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