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J Craniofac Genet Dev Biol. 1986;6(2):99-112.

Isotretinoin teratogenicity in mouse whole embryo culture.


Recent clinical observations strongly suggest that isotretinoin [13-cis-retinoic acid (cis RA)] is a human teratogen causing primarily heart and craniofacial malformations including ear and palatal defects. The purpose of the present study was to determine if cis RA could induce similar craniofacial malformations in mouse embryo culture. Day 8 CD-1 mouse embryos were cultured for 48 hours in rat serum in the presence or absence of various concentrations of cis RA dissolved in DMSO. DMSO by itself had no effect on embryonic development; however, cis RA at 2 X 10(-5) M (6 micrograms/ml) was clearly toxic. At 2 X 10(-6) M cis RA, growth retardation was minimal, and approximately one-third of the embryos exhibited very specific defects including a dramatic reduction in the size of the first and second visceral arches, which eventually give rise to the maxilla, mandible, and ear. Similar observations were also made with 4-oxo-13-cis RA, which is a major metabolite of cis RA in the mouse and human. These malformations would be expected to result in defects similar to those observed in the human, and preliminary observations suggest these defects are due to cis RA-induced inhibition of cranial neural crest cell migration. Using day-10 mouse embryos cultured for 48 hours in Waymouth's medium containing 50% fetal calf serum, we observed that cis RA at 2 X 10(-5) M produced a high percentage of embryos with limb defects and median cleft lip. Our results demonstrate that labeled cis RA enters the tissues of the embryo both in vivo and in vitro. Cis RA inhibited proliferation of the frontonasal mesenchyme cells in primary culture with 31% inhibition occurring at 2 X 10(-5) M cis RA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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