• Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology 10/2011; 46(5):446-7. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is treated with the antithyroid drugs (ATD) propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (MMI). PTU currently is recommended as the drug of choice during early pregnancy. Yet, despite widespread ATD use in pregnancy, formal studies of ATD teratogenic effects have not been performed. We examined the teratogenic effects of PTU and MMI during embryogenesis in mice. To span different periods of embryogenesis, dams were treated with compounds or vehicle daily from embryonic day (E) 7.5 to 9.5 or from E3.5 to E7.5. Embryos were examined for gross malformations at E10.5 or E18.5 followed by histological and micro-CT analysis. Influences of PTU on gene expression levels were examined by RNA microarray analysis. When dams were treated from E7.5 to E9.5 with PTU, neural tube and cardiac abnormalities were observed at E10.5. Cranial neural tube defects were significantly more common among the PTU-exposed embryos than those exposed to MMI or vehicle. Blood in the pericardial sac, which is a feature indicative of abnormal cardiac function and/or abnormal vasculature, was observed more frequently in PTU-treated than MMI-treated or vehicle-treated embryos. Following PTU treatment, a total of 134 differentially expressed genes were identified. Disrupted genetic pathways were those associated with cytoskeleton remodeling and keratin filaments. At E 18.5, no gross malformations were evident in either ATD group, but the number of viable PTU embryos per dam at E18.5 was significantly lower from those at E10.5, indicating loss of malformed embryos. These data show that PTU exposure during embryogenesis is associated with delayed neural tube closure and cardiac abnormalities. In contrast, we did not observe structural or cardiac defects associated with MMI exposure except at the higher dose. We find that PTU exposure during embryogenesis is associated with fetal loss. These observations suggest that PTU has teratogenic potential.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35213. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While methimazole (MMI) is widely used in the therapy for hyperthyroidism, several groups have reported that maternal exposure to MMI results in a variety of congenital anomalies, including choanal and esophageal atresia, iridic and retinal coloboma, and delayed neurodevelopment. Thus, adverse effects of maternal exposure to MMI on fetal development have long been suggested; however, direct evidence for the teratogenicity of MMI has not been presented. Therefore, we studied the effects of MMI on early development by using zebrafish as a model organism. The fertilized eggs of zebrafish were collected immediately after spawning and grown in egg culture water containing MMI at various concentrations. External observation of the embryos revealed that exposure to high concentrations of MMI resulted in loss of pigmentation, hypoplastic hindbrain, turbid tissue in the forebrain, swelling of the notochord, and curly trunk. Furthermore, these effects occurred in a dose-dependent manner. Precise observation of the serial cross-sections of MMI-exposed embryos elucidated delayed development and hypoplasia of the whole brain and spinal cord, narrowing of the pharynx and esophagus, severe disruption of the retina, and aberrant structure of the notochord. These neuronal, pharyngeal, esophageal, and retinal anomalous morphologies have a direct analogy to the congenital anomalies observed in children exposed to MMI in utero. Here, we show the teratogenic effects of MMI on the development of zebrafish and provide the first experimental evidence for the connection between exposure to MMI and human MMI embryopathy.
    Birth Defects Research Part B Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology 04/2013; · 1.97 Impact Factor