Assessment of fetal lung maturity using analysis of amniotic fluid from ewes that gave birth prematurely and at term
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the lung maturity of premature and full-term lambs by analyzing amniotic fluid using the following methods: Clements test, Nile blue cytology test, hematoxylin-Shorr stain, lamellar body count, and radiographic tests. The use of these methods is intended to identify high-risk newborns and provide immediate clinical intervention after birth. Altogether, 56 animals (24 ewes and 32 lambs) were included in the study and divided into 3 groups. Group I consisted of 8 ewes that were at approximately 145 days of gestation; this group delivered 10 lambs naturally. Group II consisted of 8 ewes that were at 138 days' gestation; this group delivered 11 lambs by cesarean section. Group III consisted of 8 ewes at 138 days' gestation; this group was administered intramuscular dexamethasone (16mg/animal) 36 hours prior to a cesarean section. Group III delivered11 lambs. Cytological tests were performed using a microscope with a maximum magnification of 1000x, while the Clements test was visually observed by one of the researchers. Amnioticfluid lamellar body counts were measured using transmission electron microscopy. Among the staining methods, hematoxylin-Shorr was reliable, and Group III had a greater number of orangeophilic cells when compared to Group II, probably due to corticoid administration. The Clements test showed pulmonary maturity in approximately 20% of Group I lambs and Group II showed 9.1% of bubbles; however, Group III had the highest pulmonary maturity percentage (36.4%). The lamellar bodies were measured, and all groups had sizes between 0.019 and 0.590µm. Radiographic evaluation revealed that the majority of lambs presented some level of pulmonary radiodensity, indicating an acinar pattern at birth. These results are in line with the expectations of each group. We found that the normal group showed greater pulmonary maturity, whereas Group II presented pulmonary immaturity, which is expected because this group comprised lambs born prematurely and Group III showed pulmonary.