Effect of Trypan Blue on Rat Embryos

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THE teratogenic effect of trypan blue in pregnant rats has been well established1–3. The dye appears to be most active when injected at 8½ days of pregnancy and gives rise to a variety of abnormalities involving almost all the systems of the embryo. Of a number of chemically related azo dyes tested, trypan blue was found to be the most active teratogenic agent in rats4 and it has also been shown to act as a teratogen in other rodents5–7 and in chicks8. Three main hypotheses explaining its action have been proposed. The first assumed that a part, at least, of the dye enters the blastocyst and acts directly on the embryonic cells9; the second postulates a ‘clogging’ of the yolk sac epithelium with the large dye molecules, thus inhibiting the transfer of essential substances to the conceptus ; the third suggests maternal metabolic changes resulting in the formation of substances which are responsible for the fœtal malformations.

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BECK, F., SPENCER, B. & BAXTER, J. Effect of Trypan Blue on Rat Embryos. Nature 187, 605–607 (1960) doi:10.1038/187605a0

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