Guinea Pig Development
|Embryology - 19 Apr 2021 Expand to Translate|
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Embryos from the guinea pig or guinea-pig (Cavia porcellus) have been used in various tetragenic studies, including the effects of elevated body temperature on embryonic development. Postnatally guinea pigs can become sexually mature as early as four weeks.
Historically, it was the Spanish conquistadors who approximately 400 years ago brought guinea pigs to Europe from South America, where they are native.
Nutritional research using guinea pigs showed that scurvy was due to a lack dietary vitamin C, and they have also been used for other dietary requirement studies.
The guinea pig middle ear ossicles, malleus and incus, are a single fused complex, compared to humans where they are two separate bones.
Some Recent Findings
|More recent papers|
This table allows an automated computer search of the external PubMed database using the listed "Search term" text link.
|These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.
Taxonomy Id: 10141 Preferred common name: domestic guinea pig Rank: species
Genetic code: Translation table 1 (Standard) Mitochondrial genetic code: Translation table 2 Other names: Cavia cobaya[synonym], Cavia aperea porcellus[synonym], guinea pig[common name]
Lineage( abbreviated ): Eukaryota; Metazoa; Chordata; Craniata; Vertebrata; Mammalia; Eutheria; Rodentia; Hystricognathi; Caviidae; Cavia
Lifespan: (maximum) 12 years, (average) 5 years.
Sexual maturity: 4-6 weeks
Estrous cycle: 15-17 days
Gestation period: 67-69 days
Average litter size: 3 pups (range 1 - 4)
Weaning age: 3 weeks
- Links: estrous cycle
The following data is from a recent macroscopic and microscopic study of guinea pig neural development.
- day 20 - rudimentary optical vesicles, slight retinal pigmentation, beginning of primary vesicles (forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain)
- day 30 - still undifferentiated nervous tissue without macroscopic differentiation of cerebral sulci and gyri. Brain and brainstem were an aggregate of nervous tissue without macroscopic structure differences. Spinal cord present and cauda equina was absent.
- day 45 - brain fully developed with division of left and right cerebral hemispheres, marked by the dorsal median groove. Spinal cord after the medulla oblongata observed, with cervical and lumbar enlargements.
- day 50 to 60 - no significant additional structural differences.
- day 22 - primordium of the spinal cord was observed, with a spinal canal well defined and populated by cells.
- day 25 - medullary canal had a density higher than previously.
- day 45 - white matter predominant in central parts of the brain. Cerebellar cortex has only 3 layers
Hyperthermia and Development
Guinea pigs have been successfully used as a sensitive model system for the effects of maternal hyperthermia (high body temperature/fever) upon development. This is an excellent example of a maternal environmental effect on embryonic development and neurological effects have also been demonstrated in other rodent model systems. (More? maternal hyperthermia)
- "Guinea pigs were exposed to hyperthermia for 1 hr once or twice on day 11, 12, 13, or 14 (E11-E14) of pregnancy. The mean rectal temperatures were elevated by 3.4 degrees C-4.0 degrees C. This treatment resulted in a marked elevation of rates of resorption and developmental defects in embryos examined at day E23. The defects observed were those affecting the neural tube (NTD) (exencephaly, encephaloceles, and microphthalmia), kyphosis/scoliosis, branchial arch defects, and pericardial edema. Embryos with NTD and kyphosis/scoliosis have not been found among newborn guinea pigs to date following maternal heat exposure on days E12-E14. It appears that embryos with these defects are filtered out by resorption or abortion by days E30-E35."
Guinea Pig Research Characteristics
The following lists reasons why the guinea pig is an excellent model animal system for development studies.
- Long Gestation Period With Mature Central Nervous System at Birth - toxicology and teratology studies.
- Sensitivity of Respiratory System - asthma and environmental pollution studies.
- Anatomy of the Guinea Pig Ear - inner ear studies because it is easily dissected and exposed.
- Vitamin C Requirement - wound healing. bone, tooth and atherosclerosis studies.
- Guinea Pig serum - Possesses hemolytic complement with higher activity levels than other lab animals. Widely used as a source of complement for complement fixation test.
- Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases - sentinel animals because of their acute susceptibility to Coxiella burnetii., Mycobacterium sp. and Listeriosis.
- Similar lmmune System to Man - immune system possesses a similar antigen-macrophage interaction to man and delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity reaction.
- High Dietary Requirements - folic acid, thiamine, arginine and potassium make guinea pigs useful in nutrition studies.
- Precocious Young - good for germ free raising.
- Quiet Calm Disposition - entomology studies, used to test repellents and insecticides, and as feeding source for biting insects.
- Text modified from Washington University - NetVet Guinea Pig Models and Uses in Research Notes
- Wang S, Shi M, Zhu D, Mathews R & Zheng Z. (2018). External Genital Development, Urethra Formation, and Hypospadias Induction in Guinea Pig: A Double Zipper Model for Human Urethral Development. Urology , 113, 179-186. PMID: 29155192 DOI.
- Hatakeyama J, Sato H & Shimamura K. (2017). Developing guinea pig brain as a model for cortical folding. Dev. Growth Differ. , 59, 286-301. PMID: 28585227 DOI.
- Santos J, Fonseca E, van Melis J & Miglino MA. (2014). Morphometric analysis of fetal development of Cavia porcellus (Linnaeus, 1758) by ultrasonography--pilot study. Theriogenology , 81, 896-900. PMID: 24560548 DOI.
- Evans LC, Liu H & Thompson LP. (2012). Differential effect of intrauterine hypoxia on caspase 3 and DNA fragmentation in fetal guinea pig hearts and brains. Reprod Sci , 19, 298-305. PMID: 22383778 DOI.
- Silva FMO. Alcantara D. Carvalho RC. Favaron PO. Santos AC Viana DC. and Miglino MA. Development of the central nervous system in guinea pig (Cavia porcellus, Rodentia, Caviidae). (2016) Pesquisa Veterinciria Brasileira 36(8): 753-760. DOI
- Cawdell-Smith J, Upfold J, Edwards M & Smith M. (1992). Neural tube and other developmental anomalies in the guinea pig following maternal hyperthermia during early neural tube development. Teratog., Carcinog. Mutagen. , 12, 1-9. PMID: 1354895
Search Pubmed: Guinea Pig Development
Silva FMO. Alcantara D. Carvalho RC. Favaron PO. Santos AC Viana DC. and Miglino MA. Development of the central nervous system in guinea pig (Cavia porcellus, Rodentia, Caviidae). (2016) Pesquisa Veterinciria Brasileira 36(8): 753-760. DOI
Bennett GA, Palliser HK, Walker D & Hirst J. (2016). Severity and timing: How prenatal stress exposure affects glial developmental, emotional behavioural and plasma neurosteroid responses in guinea pig offspring. Psychoneuroendocrinology , 70, 47-57. PMID: 27155257 DOI.
Noseworthy JH, Gilbert JJ, Vandervoort MK & Karlik SJ. (1988). Postnatal NMR changes in guinea pig central nervous system: potential relevance to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Magn Reson Med , 6, 199-211. PMID: 3367777
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- Washington University NetVet - General Notes on Guinea Pigs | Guinea Pig - Models and Uses in Research (Notes) | Biology and Care of Guinea Pigs (Notes) | Diseases of Guinea Pigs (Notes)
- LABORATORY RODENT AND RABBIT EMBRYOS/OVA - Conditions applicable to the maintenance of laboratory animal colonies
- Seagull's Guinea Pig Compendium
- Diseases of Guinea Pigs (AFIP-POLA)
- Elm Hill Breeding Labs
- M & B Breeding and Research Centre Ltd.
- Covance (HRP, Inc.)
- Cavy Spirit
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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, April 19) Embryology Guinea Pig Development. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Guinea_Pig_Development
- © Dr Mark Hill 2021, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G