Key Point: High Susceptibility of Early Fetal Brain to Detrimental Changes by Ultrasound

Long-term effects of diagnostic ultrasound during fetal period on postnatal development and adult behavior of mouse.

Suresh R, Uma Devi P, Ovchinnikov N, McRae A.

Life Sci. 2002 Jun 7;71(3):339-50.


Pregnant Swiss albino mice were exposed to diagnostic levels of ultrasound (3.5 MHz, intensity 65 mW, I(SPTP) = 1 W/cm(2), I(SATA) = 240 W/cm(2)) for 10, 20 and 30 minutes on day 14 of gestation. Sham exposed controls were maintained for comparison. Fifteen pregnant mice were exposed for each group. Exposed as well as control animals were left to complete gestation and parturition. Ultrasound induced changes in maternal vaginal temperature was recorded. The changes in the physiological reflexes and postnatal mortality up to 6 weeks of age were recorded. The litters were subjected to behavioral tests for locomotor activity, learning and memory at 4 month and 1 year of age. Neither the physiological reflexes nor the postnatal mortality was affected by ultrasound exposure. However, there was a noticeable impairment in both locomotor and learning behavior even after a 10 minute exposure, which further increased with increases in exposure time. Thus the present study demonstrates the neurotoxicity of diagnostic ultrasound and the high susceptibility of early fetal brain to induction of lasting detrimental changes by ultrasound exposure.