Effects of whole rat embryos cultured on serum from zinc- and copper-deficient rats

G. D. Mieden, Carl L Keen, L. S. Hurley, N. W. Klein

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27 Scopus citations


Whole rat embryos of 9.5 gestational days were cultured for 2 d on sera taken from rats fed diets deficient in zinc (0.5 μg Zn/g diet) or copper (0.6 μg Cu/g diet), or fed a control diet (100 μg Zn and 10 μg Cu per g diet). Head malformations were observed in embryos cultured on 12 of 16 zinc-deficient and 11 or 12 copper-deficient serum samples. The protein contents, crown-rump lengths (CRL) and percentages of head to CRL in these embryos were significantly smaller than those of embryos cultured on control serum. Copper and zinc were then added directly to 8 zinc- and 7 copper-deficient serum samples that had grown abnormal embryos. All subsequent cultured embryos had a normal appearance and protein content, CRL and head-to-CRL percentages comparable to controls, except one zinc embryo. These findings suggest that zinc and copper can act directly on embryonic development, and that whole rat embryo cultures can be used to detect deficiencies of these elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2424-2431
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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