Effect of 6-mercaptopurine on 65Zn distribution in the pregnant rat

K. Amemiya, L. S. Hurley, Carl L Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The effect of 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) on the distribution of gavaged 65Zn in maternal and embryonic tissues of Sprague-Dawley rats was examined 24 hr after injection of the drug on day 13 of pregnancy. 6-MP injection resulted in a significantly higher retention of counts of 65Zn in maternal liver and lower counts in maternal plasma, uterus, placenta, and embryo than in controls. Compared to controls, gel chromatography of maternal liver from 6-MP injected dams showed higher counts associated with a protein peak of molecular weight 6,000-8,000, the approximate molecular weight of the zinc-binding protein metallothionein. These results support the idea that the zinc deficiency, which is observed in day 21 fetuses from dams injected with 6-MP during midgestation, may be the result of a drug-induced sequestering of zinc into maternal liver followed by a decrease in maternal plasma zinc and subsequent reduction in fetal zinc uptake. We suggest that this 6-MP-associated redistribution of zinc into maternal liver may be due to induction of maternal metallothionein synthesis by the drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-393
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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