ABSTRACT Risk assessment of chemicals is essential for the estimation of chemical safety, and animal toxicity data are typically used in the evaluation process, which consists of hazard identification, dose–response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. Hazard identification entails the collection of all available toxicity data and assessment of toxicity endpoints based on findings for repeated dose toxicity, carcinogenicity or genotoxicity and species-specificity. Once a review is compiled, the allowable lifetime exposure level of a chemical is estimated from a dose–response assessment based on several measures. For non-carcinogens and non-genotoxic carcinogens, the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) is divided by uncertainty factors (e.g. with environmental pollutants) or safety factors (e.g. with food additives) to derive a tolerable daily intake (TDI) or acceptable daily intake (ADI), respectively. These factors include interspecies and individual differences, duration of exposure, quality of data, and nature of toxicity such as carcinogenicity or neurotoxicity. For genotoxic carcinogens, low dose extrapolation is accomplished with mathematical modeling (e.g. linearized multistage model) from the point of departure to obtain exposure levels that will be associated with an excess lifetime cancer risk of a certain level. Data for levels of chemicals in food, water and air, are routinely used for exposure assessment. Finally, risk characterization is performed to ensure that the established ‘safe’ level of exposure exceeds the estimated level of actual exposure. These principles have led to the evaluation of several existing chemicals. To establish a guideline for residual solvents in medicine, the permitted daily exposure (PDE), equivalent to TDI, of N,N-dimethylformamide was derived on the basis of developmental toxicity (malformation) and of N-methylpyrrolidone on the basis of the developmental neurotoxicity. A TDI for di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was derived from assessment of testicular toxicity.
ABSTRACT Using in vitro organ culture of the fetal mouse palate in a chemically defined serumless medium, the toxicity of 24 chemical compounds was investigated. Explanted palates of day-12.5 mouse fetuses were exposed for 72 h in vitro to various concentrations of each chemical, and the fusion rate and growth parameters were compared between the experimental group and respective controls. The average rate of palate fusion was 84% in vehicle controls. For compounds that are teratogenic in experimental animals in vivo, the fusion rates of palatal shelves decreased as the concentration of the test chemicals increased, showing a dose-dependent relationship. Palate fusion was inhibited by 11 of the 15 in vivo teratogens, and the predictability of in vivo developmental toxicity in this culture system was 73%. Cyclophosphamide itself did not inhibit the growth and fusion of explanted palates, but supplementation of hepatic S-9 fraction and cofactors for a monooxygenase system converted it to a toxic substance, as was shown in other in vitro systems. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) value calculated based on the fusion rate was also found to be a useful parameter for evaluating the developmental toxicity of drugs. The teratogenic risk in the human fetus could be assessed by comparing the minimal toxic concentrations of the test compound on cultured palates with the maximal plasma level in pregnant women under therapeutic conditions and with the plasma concentrations when its minimal teratogenic dose is given to pregnant mice. This organ culture system of the fetal palate should be useful for screening the developmental toxicity of drugs and other environmental agents, and its value should increase when it is used in combination with other battery test systems.
ABSTRACT A fetal diagnostic method that is without risk to the embryo has been long awaited in the field of gene diagnosis. Establishment of non-invasive fetal diagnosis using maternal peripheral blood will greatly contribute to perinatal medical care. The lectin method that we have studied and developed selectively recovers nucleated red blood cells (NRBC) among fetal cells mixed in maternal peripheral blood.
Maternal blood, 7 mL, was collected with ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) treatment in each week of gestation and subjected to preliminary concentration by density centrifugation (Histopaque [Histopaque-1077; Sigma Diagnostics, MO, USA], specific gravity: 1.095), and NRBC were separated and collected on slide glasses by the lectin method (soybean agglutinin [SBA]: 50 µg/mL).
To investigate selective adhesion of the erythrocyte fraction, the SBA concentration was set to 50 µg/mL, and the cells were labeled with CD11a and CD33 (anti-white blood cell antibodies) and investigated by flowcytometry. Erythrocytes adhered at a high rate (87.0 ± 9.7%) while the adhesion rates of granulocytes, monocytes, and lymphocytes were low, confirming the usefulness of the method for separation and recovery of the erythrocyte fraction.
When recovery of NRBC was investigated using this method, a mean of 6.57 ± 7.12 cells were recovered from 1 mL of maternal blood (May–Gluüwald–Giemsa stain). The number of recovered NRBC increased slowly with pregnancy, but differences were not significant. To confirm that recovered NRBC were derived from the fetus, NRBC were recovered by the lectin method in four patients suspected of 18 trisomy by echography and analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Three hybridization signals were detected in NRBC at a high frequency, showing that most cells were derived from the fetus and thus, fetal diagnosis may be possible.
Since the procedure of the lectin method we have developed is simple, and high concentration efficiency can be obtained at a low cost, it may be clinically applicable.
ABSTRACT The objective of the study presented here was to check the debated human teratogenic potential of sulfonamide drugs. Five different sulfonamides such as sulfamethazine, sulfathiourea, sulfamethoxypyridazine, sulfamethoxydiazine and the combination of sulfamethazine-sulfathiourea-sulfamethoxypyridazine were differentiated.
Cases with congenital abnormalities were compared with their matched controls without congenital abnormalities in the population-based large data set of the Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance of Congenital Abnormalities between 1980 and 1996.
Of 38 151 newborn infants without any congenital abnormalities (control group), 163 (0.4%) had mothers who were treated with the sulfonamides studied during pregnancy, while of 22 843 cases with congenital abnormalities, 140 (0.6%) had mothers who were treated with the sulfonamides studied during pregnancy. The analysis of cases and matched controls indicated a higher rate of cardiovascular malformation (adjusted prevalence odds ratios [POR] with 95% CI: 3.5, 1.9–6.4) and clubfoot (adjusted POR with 95% CI: 2.6, 1.1–6.2) in infants born to mothers with sulfonamide treatment in the second and third months of pregnancy. The detailed analysis of different sulfonamides showed a possible association between cardiovascular malformations (adjusted POR with 95%; CI: 6.5, 2.6–15.9), particularly ventricular septal defect (17.1, 1.3–141.1) and sulfamethoxydiazine during the second and third months of pregnancy. In addition, a possible association was found between clubfoot and sulfathiourea, both during the entire pregnancy (adjusted POR with 95% CI: 2.3, 1.2–4.3) and in the second and third months of gestation (3.9, 1.1–13.8).
Thus, maternal treatment of sulfamethoxydiazine may cause ventricular septal defect, while sulfathiourea may induce clubfoot; however, further studies are needed to verify or reject these associations.
ABSTRACT For the purpose of improving the clinical efficacy of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)-L3% in prenatal screening for trisomy 21, we calculated the multiple of the median (MoM) of AFP-L3% (L3 MoM) and the ratio of L3 MoM to AFP MoM (L3 MoM/AFP MoM) in maternal serum. Maternal serum samples from 1822 women (maternal age 37.3 ± 3.8 years, and weeks of gestation 16.0 ± 1.0; mean ± SD) with unaffected pregnancies and 28 women (37.6 ± 4.6 years, 16.6 ± 3.1) pregnant with of trisomy 21 fetuses were obtained. The AFP concentration and AFP-L3% in maternal serum were measured using a liquid-phase binding assay. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs) of AFP MoM, AFP-L3%, L3 MoM, and L3 MoM/AFP MoM were 0.750, 0.868, 0.949 and 0.946, respectively. The AUCs of L3 MoM and L3 MoM/AFP MoM were significantly higher than AFP-L3% (P < 0.05) and AFP MoM (P < 0.0005). However, no statistical difference was observed between the AUCs of L3 MoM and L3 MoM/AFP MoM. In conclusion, the L3 MoM should be an effective replacement for AFP-L3% in prenatal trisomy 21 screening.
ABSTRACT 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a plant growth regulator, has been used worldwide as a herbicide. Previously we evaluated the prenatal developmental effects of 2,4-D by feeding it to pregnant rats and found that it is maternally toxic and embryolethal, and it induces urogenital malformations in rat fetuses. In the study presented here, we investigated the effects of pure 2,4-D on rat embryos in whole embryo culture. Rat embryos on day 9.5 of gestation were cultured for 48 h at several concentration levels with pure 2,4-D (50–500 µg/mL). 2,4-D caused a concentration-related increase in the incidence of each malformation. Significant decreases in the number of somites were observed at a concentration of 100 µg/mL or more. At the concentration of 100 µg/mL, there was normal yolk sac circulation. This result suggests that 2,4-D has a detrimental effect on somite development and directly damages developing embryos.
ABSTRACT We report a neonatal case of Peters’ anomaly with bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria and abdominal calcification. The male infant was born after a normal labor. Bilateral central corneal opacities with iridocorneal strands indicated Peters’ anomaly. The X-ray and abdominal computed tomography demonstrated multiple calcifications beneath the diaphragma around the liver and the spleen. TORCH serology was negative. Intracranial calcification was not detected. Brain magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria. Abdominal calcification was suspected to be related to vascular disruption. Bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria has been thought to result from ischemic events such as intrauterine hypotension or vascular occlusions. Based on these considerations, we conclude that a vascular disruption sequence may an important pathogenetic mechanism of Peters’ anomaly.