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Teratology. 1990 Dec;42(6):611-8.

Teratogenic effect of the cholesterol synthesis inhibitor AY 9944 on rat embryos in vitro.

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Laboratoire d'Embryologie, CHU Saint-Antoine, Paris, France.


AY 9944 [trans-1,4-bis(2-chlorobenzylaminomethyl) cyclohexane dihydrochloride] is an amphiphilic cationic molecule. This chemical is an established inhibitor of cholesterol synthesis and is teratogenic in rats. The mechanisms of this teratogenicity remain to be clarified. This study used cultured rat whole embryos to ascertain whether AY 9944 had a direct effect on embryos, or whether its action was indirect, via the maternal cholesterol metabolism. Four experimental conditions were investigated: (A) controls; (B) 10 day untreated embryos were cultured in serum of treated rats; (C) 10 day untreated embryos were cultured in serum containing added AY 9944 (0-1,000 micrograms/ml); and (D) 10 day embryos from females treated on day 4 of gestation were cultured in normal serum. In group B there was no growth retardation; some slight nonspecific abnormalities were not significant. In group C, direct addition of AY 9944 to culture medium retarded growth and differentiation in a dose-dependent manner. No malformation was observed, but histological examinations showed numerous areas of cell necrosis, especially in the CNS. In group D, not only was growth retardation observed, but also characteristic malformations of AY 9944 teratogenesis, including pituitary agenesis. These results show that AY 9944 teratogenicity is initiated prior to day 10.

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