Child's Nervous System

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 933–938 | Cite as

The effect of magnetic resonance imaging on neural tube development in an early chicken embryo model

  • Emrah Kantarcioglu
  • Gokmen Kahilogullari
  • Murat Zaimoglu
  • Esin Ozlem Atmis
  • Elif Peker
  • Zeynep Yigman
  • Deniz Billur
  • Sevim Aydin
  • Ilhan Memet Erden
  • Agahan Unlü
Original Paper



We aimed to determine whether varying the magnetic field during magnetic resonance imaging would affect the development of chicken embryos and neural tube defects.


Following incubation for 24 h, we exposed chicken embryos to varying magnetic fields for 10 min to assess the impact on development. Three magnetic resonance imaging devices were used, and the eggs were divided into four groups: group 1 is exposed to 1 T, group 2 is exposed to 1.5 T, group 3 is exposed to 3 T, and group 4, control group, was not exposed to magnetic field. After MRI exposure, all embryos were again put inside incubator to complete 48 h. “The new technique” was used to open eggs, a stereomicroscope was used for the examination of magnified external morphology, and each embryo was examined according to the Hamburger and Hamilton chicken embryo stages. Embryos who had delayed stages of development are considered growth retarded. Growth retardation criteria do not include small for stage.


Compared with embryos not exposed to a magnetic field, there was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of neural tube closure defects and growth retardation in the embryos exposed to magnetic fields (p < 0.05). However, although the incidence of neural tube closure defects was expected to increase as exposure (tesla level) increased, we found a higher rate of defects in the 1.5-T group compared with the 3-T group. By contrast, the highest incidence of growth retardation was in the 3-T group, which was consistent with our expectation that growth retardation would be more likely as tesla level increased.


We therefore conclude that the use of magnetic resonance imaging as a diagnostic tool can result in midline closure defects and growth retardation in chicken embryos. We hypothesize that this may also be true for human embryos exposed to MRI. If a pregnant individual is to take an MRI scan, as for lumbar disc disease or any other any other reason, our results indicate that consideration should be given to an avoidance of MRI during pregnancy.


Chicken embryo Growth retardation Magnetic resonance imaging Neural tube defects 



Magnetic resonance imaging


Neural tube defect




Echo time


Repetition time



We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Atilla Halil Elhan for his valuable statistical analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emrah Kantarcioglu
    • 1
  • Gokmen Kahilogullari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Murat Zaimoglu
    • 1
  • Esin Ozlem Atmis
    • 3
  • Elif Peker
    • 4
  • Zeynep Yigman
    • 5
  • Deniz Billur
    • 5
  • Sevim Aydin
    • 5
  • Ilhan Memet Erden
    • 4
  • Agahan Unlü
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Ibni Sina HospitalAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Ankara Universitesi Ibni Sina Hastanesi Beyin ve Sinir CerrahisiAltındağ/AnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology, Ibni Sina HospitalAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  4. 4.Department of Radiology, Ibni Sina HospitalAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  5. 5.Department of Histology and Embryology, Ibni Sina HospitalAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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