Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Hum Exp Toxicol. 1999 Apr;18(4):252-6.

Maternal passive smoking during pregnancy and fetal developmental toxicity. Part 1: gross morphological effects.

Author information

  • 1Toxicology Laboratory, Institute of Hygiene & Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center, Essen, Germany.


1. Prenatal exposure of human fetus to tobacco smoke through maternal passive smoking has been epidemiologically linked to reduced birth weight, enhanced susceptibility to respiratory diseases and changes in immune system. However, no data exists indicating teratogenicity of involuntary smoking. Since sidestream smoke of cigarettes makes the most constituent of whole smoke inhaled by nonsmokers, we performed experiments to determine whether passive inhalation of sidestream smoke by rats causes malformations in newborns. 2. Pregnant 230 - 300 g Wistar rats were each placed in a 150 dm3 glass chamber with two holes, each 3 cm in diameter in two opposite walls to provide unforced exchange of fresh air. A third hole was connected to an automatic smoking machine. The head of a commercial filter blond cigarette (13 mg Tar, 0.9 mg Nicotine) was introduced to the chamber through this later hole. Cigarettes were smoked by smoking machine at the rate and volume resembling human smoking and the mainstream smoke was separately collected and discarded. Each rat thus received the sidestream smoke self-diluted in the chamber air. Experiments were performed with either 1, 2, 3 or 4 cigarettes/day during either first, second or third week of a total 21-day pregnancy period. The interval between smoking of cigarettes was 2 h. 3. COHb in blood of negative controls was about 1.2% and after exposure to 1 or 4 cigarettes were 6% and 12.2%, respectively. A dose-dependent reduction of birth weight was observed in newborns (P<0.001); bitemporal diameters and body lengths were reduced accordingly. No macroscopically visible gross anomaly could be observed. After removing the fat tissue and staining the skeleton with alizarin, a widespread ossification retardation could be observed in all exposed groups regardless of the dose. Such a retardation was not limited to a particular bone. 4. These results support epidemiologic data on developmental toxicity of passive smoking and further provide evidence on an unfavorable osteopathic effect of sidestream exposure of mother on fetal development.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Ingenta plc
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk