Maternal factors affecting teratogenic response: A need for assessment

Carl L Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A review of current literature suggests that maternal nutritional status can be an important modulator of the developmental toxicity of a number of agents in the environment. While the provision of multivitamin/multimineral supplements during the periconceptional period is often associated with improved pregnancy outcome, it has been difficult to identify specific nutrient deficiencies as causative factors of abnormal development in humans. One explanation for this is that nutrient deficiencies can arise through a number of means in addition to a simple dietary deficit of the nutrient. The hypothesis is proposed that one mechanism contributing to the embryotoxicity of a diverse group of insults is an alteration in the metabolism of select nutrients. Evidence is presented that zinc is one nutrient whose metabolism can be markedly influenced by a variety of insults. One consequence of this alteration can be a reduction in embryonic zinc uptake, the development of embryonic zinc deficiency and abnormal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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