Teratogenic Effect of Cadmium and its Inhibition by Zinc


DURING a study of the teratogenic effects of heavy metals on mammalian embryos, we have been able to produce severe developmental malformations in golden hamster embryos by the intravenous injection of 2 mg/kg of cadmium sulphate into pregnant mothers on the eighth day of gestation. These malformations consisted of a specific effect on the face and upper jaw, ranging from a simple mid-line cleft to almost complete obliteration of normal facial architecture. A few other malformations apparently also induced by cadmium in this dose were occasionally found. These consisted of anophthakmia, digital and other limb defects, rib fusions and exencephaly. The simultaneous administration of 2 mg/kg zinc sulphate almost completely inhibited this marked teratogenic effect of cadmium. The particular susceptibility of the germinal epithelium of the testis and the rodent placenta to the toxic effects of cadmium has been described1,2. This toxic effect of cadmium has been attributed to alterations in the endothelium of the vascular beds in these affected organs2,3.


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FERM, V., CARPENTER, S. Teratogenic Effect of Cadmium and its Inhibition by Zinc. Nature 216, 1123 (1967). https://doi.org/10.1038/2161123a0

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