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Pediatr Res. 1986 Aug;20(8):761-2.

Arsenate-induced neural tube defects not influenced by constant rate administration of folic acid.

Abstract

Serious suggestions have been made that dietary supplementation with folic acid (FA) and perhaps other vitamins during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of neural tube defect (NTD) in human newborns. The purpose of these experiments was to evaluate the effect of continuous infusion of FA on the incidence of NTDs induced by arsenate. This teratogen induces NTDs in up to 90% of golden hamster fetuses when administered acutely during critical stages of embryogenesis. FA was administered by subcutaneously implanted osmotic minipumps beginning on the 6th day of gestation, 48 h before an acutely administered dose of sodium arsenate. The protective effect of FA was examined at three teratogenic dose levels of arsenate: optimal, with 905 NTDs, intermediate, with 38% NTDs, and low, with 20% NTDs. Fetuses were recovered at day 13 of gestation and examined for NTDs and other malformations. Maternal red cell folate levels were determined on day 8, 48 h after implantation of the pumps. The results show that the maternal red blood cell level of FA can be significantly increased within 48 h by chronic infusion to levels which are almost two times (550 ng/ml) control levels. There was no significant protection against arsenate-induced NTDs following FA supplementation at any of three levels of this teratogen.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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