Cyclophosphamide teratogenesis: Evidence for compensatory responses to induced cellular toxicity

B. Magnus Francis, John M. Rogers, Kathleen K. Sulik, Ajit J. Alles, Kenneth H. Elstein, Robert M. Zucker, Edward J. Massaro, Mitchell B. Rosen, Neil Chernoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cyclophosphamide (CP) administered ip to pregnant mice on day 10 of gestation (day of plug = day 0) is teratogenic (exencephaly, cleft palate, and limb malformations) at 20 mg/kg and embryolethal at higher doses. In the present study, CP was administered at 1, 5, 10, or 20 mg/kg on day 10 of gestation. Embryos were removed at 8 and 28 hr postdosing, and two embryos from each litter were immediately stained with Nile blue sulfate (NBS) to identify areas of cell death. The remaining embryos were frozen and forelimb buds subsequently removed for flow cytometric (FCM) analysis of the cellular DNA synthetic cycle. Additional litters were examined near term (day 17) for morphological abnormalities; these data were correlated with embryonic toxicity as detected by NBS staining and FCM analysis. Only the highest dose produced malformations. In marked contrast, a dose‐related increase in the percentage of limb bud cells in the S (DNA synthetic) phase of the cell cycle was detectable at all doses. Inhibition of DNA synthesis was detected at all doses 8 hr post exposure and persisted through 28 hr for doses ≥10 mg/kg. NBS staining indicated increased cell death in the alar plate of the neural tube 28 hr after exposure to 10 mg/kg CP and generally increased cell death in areas of rapid cell proliferation throughout the embryo at 20 mg/kg. The absence of an overt teratogenic response at dose levels that produced significant perturbation of the cell cycle indicates that a measure of embryonic damage can be compensated for or repaired. The implications of these findings for the existence of thresholds in developmental toxicity are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Cyclophosphamide teratogenesis: Evidence for compensatory responses to induced cellular toxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this