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Toxicology. 1989 Apr;55(1-2):143-52.

The developmental toxicity of uranium in mice.

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  • 1Laboratory of Toxicology and Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, San Lorenzo, Spain.


To evaluate the developmental toxicity of uranium, 5 groups of 20 pregnant Swiss mice were given by gavage daily doses of 0, 5, 10, 25 and 50 mg/kg of uranyl acetate dihydrate on gestational days 6-15. Cesarean sections were performed on all females on gestation day 18. Fetuses were examined for external, visceral, and skeletal abnormalities. The results indicated that such exposure resulted in maternal toxicity as evidenced by reduced weight gain and food consumption during treatment, and increased relative liver weight. There were no treatment-related effects on the number of implantation sites per dam, or on the incidence of postimplantation loss (resorptions plus dead fetuses). The number of live fetuses per litter and the fetal sex ratio were not affected by the treatment. However, dose-related fetal toxicity, consisting primarily of reduced fetal body weight and body length, and an increased incidence of abnormalities was observed. Malformations (cleft palate, bipartite sternebrae) and developmental variations (reduced ossification and unossified skeletal variations) were noted at the 25 and 50 mg/kg per day test levels. Therefore, administration of uranyl acetate dihydrate during organogenesis in mice produced maternal toxicity at 5, 10, 25 and 50 mg/kg per day. The "no observable effect level" (NOEL) for fetotoxicity including teratogenicity was below 5 mg/kg per day, as some anomalies were observed at this dose. There was no evidence of embryolethality at any dosage level used in this study.

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