ABSTRACT Zinc is a vital nutrient in the normal reproductive function and embryonic development of mammals, and it is well known that oyster extract contains significant amounts of zinc. The effects of oyster extract on reproductive function, such as embryonic development, serum levels of zinc and sperm maturation were examined in zinc-deficient mice. Zinc deficiency in dams during pregnancy induced a decrease in the successful pregnancy rate, maternal weight gain, the number of live fetuses and fetal body weight. Zinc deficiency for 12 weeks in male mice induced a decrease in body weight, testis weight and sperm count in the epididymis. However, reproductive failure, embryonic defects and decreased sperm motility in zinc-deficient mice were improved by supplementation with oyster extract. Some nutrients contained in oyster extract, such as taurine and glycogen, may be related to the recovery of reproductive function. There were significantly lower serum concentrations of zinc in dams fed a zinc-deficient diet However, the serum zinc concentration was normal in the oyster extract-supplemented group. No difference in the concentration of serum zinc was observed between the oyster extract- and zinc carbonate-supplemented groups. From these findings, it is suggested that oyster extract is a useful supplement that can prevent reproductive defects from zinc deficiency, and the bioavailability of zinc may be identical to zinc carbonate.
ABSTRACT E-64 [trans-epoxysuccinyl-1-leucylamido (4-guanido) butane] is teratogenic, inducing a spectrum of malformations in vivo and producing similar effects in vitro. Numerous studies support the concept that E-64-induced malformations result from embryonic nutritional deficiency, without affecting the maternal nutritional status. This has provided a useful model with which to investigate the nutritional requirements of the early embryo, as well as the role of various nutrients in the etiology of congenital defects.
In the current investigation, we examined effects of L-methionine on E-64-induced embryotoxicity in vitro. For these experiments, we cultured rat embryos 9.5 days postconception (p.c.) for 48 hours with E-64 and/or L-methionine. We found that the addition of L-methionine to E-64-exposed cultures reduced optic abnormality and increased embryo protein. These results suggest that embryopathy largely results from a deficiency of L-methionine although E-64 limits the supply of all amino acids to the embryo. Furthermore, although endocytosis and degradation of proteins by the visceral yolk sac (VYS) supply most amino acids to the embryo, free amino acids may be compensatory when this source is reduced. These results support those of previous investigations that suggest L-methionine is a limiting nutrient for embryonic development.
ABSTRACT Monitoring in Ishikawa Prefecture (mean population; 1,150,000), during the 20-year period from 1981 to 2000, involved monitoring the prevalence of congenital anomalies starting at gestational week 22. The main objectives of the present study were (1) to investigate the trend over the past 20 years in the prevalence of congenital anomalies, and (2) to investigate whether there is area accumulation in congenital anomalies or not In addition, the prevalence of well-known risk factors such as smoking, drinking and family history among cases with congenital anomalies was analyzed to obtain clues to the background of such anomalies. During the 20 years, more than 200,000 births have been observed. Thirty-three selected congenital anomalies, consisting mainly of external anomalies, were analyzed in this study. The percentage of children born with congenital anomalies did not change markedly between the first and second halves of the monitoring period, remaining at approximately 4.5/ 1,000 births. There was also no significant change in annual trends in either Ishikawa Prefecture as a whole or in the three regions within Ishikawa. The prevalence of congenital anomalies by type showed a significant decrease in anencephaly and spina bifida. In contrast, Down syndrome and microcephaly increased significantly. The mean maternal age for Down syndrome increased significantly from the first-half period to the second-half period. The percentage of children with Polydactyly whose mother smoked were relatively higher than that for the other congenital anomalies.
ABSTRACT We have reported that the recently described circling behavior rat (CLX) is a hereditary mutant controlled by a single sex-linked recessive gene (gene symbol: clx). This mutant shows intermittent circle walking and/or running and head tossing with the neck twisted. The abnormal behavior begins to appear around weaning and continues throughout life. In the present study, behavioral tests were performed during the suckling and post-weaning periods and when the rats reached maturity, and the following peculiar abnormalities were revealed: (1) in the righting reflex test, the CLX young show a tendency to take a longer time to revert to normal posture; (2) in the negative geotaxis test, they had difficulty moving upward at 12 days of age; (3) in the air righting reflex test, they frequently fell on their backs or shoulders even after weaning; (4) almost none of the CLX rats showed nystagmus, which is invariably observed in normal rats after rotating stimulation, at 20 weeks of age; and (5) they showed hyperactivity in the open field test at the age of 5 or 6 weeks and a higher degree of locomotor activity in the home cage at the age of 7 and 15 weeks. These results suggest that CLX mutant rats may have some defect in vestibular function (balance sense) or abnormalities in an area of the central nervous system responsible for posture control, e.g., in the dopaminergic or GABAergic neurons.
ABSTRACT Most cases of Apert syndrome are due to S252W or P253R mutations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene. Differences in the effects of S252W and P253R mutations on the clinical features of Apert syndrome have been studied, but little is known about the type of FGFR2 mutation in Apert syndrome with humeroradial synostosis. To study a correlation between the FGFR2 mutations and the clinical complications, we examined the FGFR2 gene in a patient with Apert syndrome associated with humeroradial synostosis, and found that the mutation was S252W. This report suggested that S252W mutation in FGFR2 may cause humeroradial synostosis in Apert syndrome.