Comparative effects of essential and nonessential metals on preimplantation mouse embryo development

L. Hanna, Jeffrey Maurice Peters, L. M. Wiley, M. S. Clegg, C. L. Keen

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It is well recognized that deficiencies of essential trace elements during early development can result in structural abnormalities and/or embryonic death. Recently, there has been increasing interest in the concept that small excesses of essential minerals may also have negative effects on the developing embryo. We hypothesize that, with respect to toxicity, metals with similar physico-chemical properties would act by similar mechanisms to intluence the preimplantation embryo. In the current study we investigated the influence of four essential (Cu, Mn, Fe, Zn), and eight nonessential (Cr, Hg, Pb, V, Al, Ag, Cd, As) minerals on mouse preimplantation embryonic development. Two cell stage mouse embryos were cultured for 72 h in media containing varying mineral concentrations (0.05-200nM). Developmental kinetic data were collected throughout the culture period; embryo cell number was assessed at the end of the culture period. Both nonessential and essential metals were observed to be embryotoxic at relatively low concentrations. However, in contrast to our prediction, at similar molar concentrations, redox active essential minerals were less toxic than non-redox active nonessential minerals. These data suggest that direct metal binding to critical membrane sites and/or intracellular ligands, including protein and nucleic acids, may trigger abnormal development and death prior to metal associated oxidative damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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