Teratogenesis and low copper status resulting from triethylenetetramine in rats

Carl L Keen, N. L. Cohen, B. Lonnerdal, L. S. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The teratogenicity of triethylenetetramine (TETA) was studied using the Sprague-Dawley rat. TETA was fed during pregnancy at levels of 0 (control), 0.17, 0.83, or 1.66% in a complete purified diet. The frequency of resorptions and the frequency of abnormal fetuses at term increased with increasing levels of the drug. Maternal and fetal tissue copper levels were significantly lower in the TETA groups than in controls, with levels decreasing in a dose-related manner. Maternal kidney and fetal liver zinc levels increased within the TETA groups in a dose-related manner. Maternal liver iron was increased in the high-dose group compared to controls. Fetal iron concentration and maternal and fetal manganese level were not significantly affected by the drug. These results show that TETA can be a teratogenic agent. Furthermore, the results suggest that the teratogenicity of the drug may be due in part to induction of copper deficiency, and perhaps through induction of zinc toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-605
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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