Statistical analysis of the effect of cadmium and zinc on hamster teratogenesis

James K. Hartsfield, Mikyung Lee, Jorge G. Morel, Don R. Hilbelink

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal smoking is correlated with lower average birth weights and an increase in malformations in some studies. Increased maternal cadmium levels and reduction of zinc levels in certain tissues from fetuses of women who smoke suggest a biological association during pregnancy. Zinc has a protective effect on hamster teratogenesis caused by cadmium. To determine whether this protective effect is additive or synergistic (interactive), pregnant golden Syrian hamsters were injected (iv) on Day 8 of gestation with a test solution based on maternal body weight (0.5 ml per 100 g). Five doses were given: 2 mg/kg zinc chloride, 2 mg/kg cadmium chloride, 3 mg/kg cadmium chloride, 2 mg/kg zinc chloride plus 2 mg/kg cadmium chloride, and 2 mg/kg zinc chloride plus 3 mg/kg cadmium chloride. Fifty dams were randomly placed into one of the groups, for a total of 10 pregnant dams in each group. Twenty other dams were randomly placed into untreated or saline control groups. Fetuses were recovered on Day 15 and weighed, crown-rump length was measured, and fetuses were examined for viability and external malformations. Resorptions were noted. Statistical analyses included one-and two-way nested ANOVA, and logistic regression adjusted for litter effect. Zinc's protective effect on acute cadmium embryonic/fetal toxicity and teratogenicity was confirmed. The protective effect was of the same magnitude relative to the dose-dependent effect of the cadmium exposure, indicating that the effect was statistically additive and not synergistic. This suggests that the effect depends on competition of the two elements at some common binding site(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalBiochemical Medicine and Metabolic Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes


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